Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Best Day of My Life

Today is my cat Tiger's gotcha day.   You know, the day of his adoption.  That was 13 years ago today.  My husband and I were walking past a neighborhood pet store, and Friends for Life, a small local shelter, has having an adoption event.  I tried my best not to look at the kittens.  I knew I wanted to adopt a kitten, but I was planning on waiting a few months before doing that.  But I have a HUGE soft spot for ginger cats.  I looked.  There he was.  I was in love. The rest is history.

In the 13 years we have shared our lives, I have been through some ups and downs.  Jobs and career changes, losing another beloved cat and dog, starting new jobs, adopting new furry friends.  Through it all, I have had my buddy by my side.  I am grateful.

He wasn't always the easiest cat to live with.  Tiger has always needed to be the dominant animal in the house.  Even over the humans.  Tiger lives with two other cats, and a dog, and Tiger rules.  And they know it.   I have also had aggression problems with him.  So much so, I'm not sure if another person would have kept him.  He used to attack me when he was young.  But for me, once I adopt, it's for life.  So I did all I could to work with him and his aggression.  It was tough.  We have made it to the other side.

Tiger, my buddy.

 Tiger is the first pet I have ever adopted.  So he will always have a special place in my heart.  I have learned soooo much from him.  About unconditional love, for him, and from him.   About patience.  About animals in general.   And of course, he has been an inspiration in my artwork. 

"Magic Carpet," print inspired by a photo of Tiger.

"Wise One," print inspired by a photo of Tiger.
Adopting Tiger really was one of the best days of my life.  And yes, we will be celebrating Tiger today with all his furry brothers, and some of his most FAVORITE food, tuna fish.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Black Cat Awareness Month

Did you know that October is International Black Cat Awareness Month?  Being that I just completed a series of artwork with a black cat theme, I thought I would shed a little light on the plight of black cats.

Black Cat Handmade Prints @MaryAnnTestagrossaArt

"The creation of International Black Cat Awareness Month came about after it’s creator, Layla Morgan Wilde, noticed that while there are two days dedicated to black cats in the world (One in the UK, one in the US) there wasn’t anything dedicated to them on a national level. Such an observation is desperately needed, as superstitions surrounding black cats had gotten so out of control that shelters won’t even adopt them out during October any longer. Too often the cats were being adopted as part of the Halloween holiday mystique, and would be abandoned or worse after the holiday passed.  Throughout the rest of the year, it’s typically more difficult to get them adopted.  How much more difficult? Black cats have the longest wait in shelters and are adopted at a rate 50% lower than any other color of cat, which we can’t understand at all."  Shelters across the country call this "black cat syndrome."  Black cats are overlooked again and again by adopters because they associate them with bad luck, black magic, and other negative superstitions.

Black Cat Handmade Prints @MaryAnnTestagrossaArt

This issue doesn’t apply to only solid black cats. Tuxedo cats, cats with a white chest and sometimes paws, are equally hard to place.  I can tell you personally, we have a tuxedo cat and he is the best.  We adopted him from a local shelter, and he is funny, playful and so loving.  One of our best adoptions yet.

What can you do to help black cats:

1.  Adopt a black or tuxedo cat, or two, from a local shelter. 
2.  Keep your black cat indoors, especially at Halloween time.
3.  Donate to black cat organizations.
4.  Donate to cat shelters.
5.  If you are a black cat guardian, talk to people about how great your black cat is.  Educate people.  

(Above quote shared from:  https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/international-black-cat-awareness-month/)