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Shelter Update - October 2017

Lots of comings and goings lately at both the JCN shelters in Inawashiro and Kyoto! Here is some of the most recent news about our sweet kitties...

       The past several weeks have been busy ones, filled with transitions. Happily, we saw many of our kitties head off to wonderful new homes! Our sweet little Terra boarded a shinkansen for the first time. What an adventure for a little country kitten! After arriving in Tokyo, he was neutered and got to meet his new adoptive family the following day. Terra has been re-named Nix, and is thriving in his lovely new home. We are all so pleased that this little boy has gotten his happy ending after all he went through out on the streets.

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     Moving to Tokyo was also a big change for long-time shelter resident Peep. Peep was rescued from the evacuated areas of Fukushima years ago and although he has made tremendous progress at the shelter, he is still quite shy and nervous. Finally, though, after years of waiting, Peep found his person, someone to look past the nervousness and see the sweet little boy that he wants to be. While the process might be slow, Peep is gradually getting acclimatized to his new life. We are confident that we will see Peep shine with the patience and loving care of his new foster mom. Foster care has finally given this sweet boy the chance he has always deserved.

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     Husky and Mochi-Mochi, two young brothers, also moved to a new foster home in Tokyo this month. We are so happy to see them relaxed and playful, being showered with affection from a foster family that loves them a lot.

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     Our friendly Stitch also left the Inawashiro shelter this past week. Unlike some of his buddies, his new adoptive family is a little closer to home in Fukushima. Stitch has been re-named Tama, and his new mom reports he has been very affectionate towards the family and is eager for attention. He is adjusting well, and before long he will likely be running and playing with the family’s children.

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     Nyan-chan and Pudding, two beautiful kittens staying at the JCN shelter in Kyoto, also moved to Tokyo this month. While Pudding was a little shy at first, having his good friend, Nyan-chan, with him certainly helped. Both kittens are doing very well and their adoptive parents have been great at providing us with lots of regular updates. As volunteers, each cat we rescue is an investment, not just financially, but also of time, energy, and, most importantly, an emotional commitment. Regular updates and photos from our foster and adoptive families are so critical in motivating us to continue this important work! There is nothing we enjoy more than watching a rescued animal grow and flourish with the love and care of a family.

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     On a different note, we are greatly saddened by the passing of one of our long-time shelter residents, Charlie. This sweet older kitty was rescued from the evacuated zone of Fukushima shortly after the earthquake in 2011. Over the years, this shy and nervous feral cat gradually became increasingly docile and friendly, but the difficulties of her former life left her with chronic mouth pain and dental issues. Last year, Charlie was diagnosed with cancer and given weeks to live. JCN Inawashiro shelter owner, Cheryl, kindly invited Charlie into her Tokyo home for hospice care. Under the devoted care of Cheryl’s family, Charlie defied the odds and fought to survive. She had been waiting her whole life for this, and she wasn’t about to give up! In her final year, Charlie spent lovely days surrounded by people who loved her, cuddling in laps, and snuggling with Cheryl’s young children. She passed away peacefully at home on 15 October 2017. She will never be forgotten.

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     The last few weeks have also brought many new intakes to Japan Cat Network. Our newest baby in Inawashiro is Kaeda, who was found alone and abandoned in a cardboard box outside a train station. At just a few weeks old, she was weak, emaciated, and very ill with an upper respiratory infection. With the care of volunteers and veterinary treatment, Kaeda is now recovering. She is a sweet little girl who LOVES to talk! She is always trying to convince the volunteers to give her a ride on their shoulders! Unfortunately, Kaeda has initially tested positive for FIV, a disease which results in a weakened immune system. Because Kaeda is so young, however, it is impossible to know for certain whether she actually has the virus. FIV positive test results in young kittens are very often a reflection of maternal antibodies that will gradually wear off as the kitten grows. This means that Kaeda's mother was FIV positive, but does not necessarily indicate that Kaeda herself carries the virus. A confirmed diagnosis cannot accurately be made until Kaeda is at least 6-8 months old. Although FIV+ cats can live long and healthy lives with appropriate care, sadly, few families will consider adopting these cats. We are hoping that Kaeda will eventually test negative – This little girl has so much love to give!

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     The JCN Kyoto shelter, in particular, has seen a large influx of cats and kittens over the last couple of weeks. Not long ago, JCN Kyoto director, Susan, was called to a site where a tourist had seen a large group of cats and kittens living in an area with heavy traffic and an unaccepting local community. Trapping kitties like these involves a major time commitment, as traps cannot be left unsupervised without putting the animals in even more danger. So far, several cats and kittens have been trapped, with two already adopted. The youngest of these new rescues are Einstein, Felix, and Laura.  At just 4 weeks of age, these tiny babies were found abandoned and alone near a hotel in Kyoto.  Witnesses originally reported four kittens, but sadly we have found no trace of this missing fourth sibling.  Repeated attempts to locate their mother have also proved futile, and we suspect these little fighters miraculously somehow managed to survive on their own for several days. Upon rescue, all three little ones were weak, severely malnourished, and infested with fleas, but with the loving care of JCN foster caregivers, they have become playful and happy babies. 

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     Almost every day we are contacted by people all over the country, requesting assistance with cats or kittens in distress. While both the JCN shelters in Kyoto and Inawashiro are perpetually over-capacity and underfunded, we do the best we can to provide advice and resources so that more animals can be helped. As an organization, JCN considers its primary mission as one of education and support for those that want to help. We want to help animals by helping others help animals. This is where we need your help. So many of the animals we rescue need immediate veterinary care. Financial support for our work is so greatly needed and allows us to continue these rescues. Even the smallest donation is so appreciated.  https://japancatnetwork.org/donate   Foster and adoptive families are also critical. When you foster or adopt, you not only make a difference in the life of that one cat, but you free up more space at our shelters for us to accept other desperate kitties still living on the street. For more information about fostering or adopting a cat through JCN, please contact us at [email protected]

Author: Sharon Lacey

Cat Lover and JCN supporter

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