933 S. Cooper | Memphis, TN 38104

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Today's Mews

Fall 1996

Welcome to the first issue of Today's Mews. This quarterly publication is the official newsletter of Puddy Tat Protectors, Inc., d.b.a. The House of Mews.

Puddy Tat Protectors, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) community service organization, dedicated to the rescue and care of homeless cats and kittens. The organization's other missions include spaying and neutering all cats adopted from the House of Mews, educating the public on the humane treatment of cats, reporting and preventing the abuse of animals, and encouraging respect for the rights and dignity of animals. The felines of Puddy Tat Protec- tors, Inc. are adopted through The House of Mews, a cat sanctuary and adoption agency which serves as an alternative to local government-run shelters. The House of Mews does not purchase or sell cats; it operates on the fundamental principle that the lives of other living, emotional beings are not marketable or "for sale". Those approved to adopt a feline from The House of Mews are encouraged to make a donation to defray the necessary veterinarian expenses (spaying/neutering, vaccinations, tests) incurred for their new feline companions.

The House of Mews is located at 944 S. Cooper in the heart of the Midtown Cooper-Young Historic District and is staffed wholly by hard-working, non-paid volunteers As a cat lover's gift shop, The House of Mews also offers for sale unique cat collectibles, T-shirts, crafts, and other cat necessities such as Field Fresh litter, Precise and Iams cat food, toys, catnip and a variety of kitty condos.

If you are new to our cause, here is a brief history. In 1994, Elain Harvey started Puddy Tat Protectors after deciding to care for the cats and kittens who had been dropped off or who had "just shown up" at Goodwin's Nursery in Germantown, Tennessee. After volunteering alone for about four months and caring for over 60 cats with occasional help from Goodwin's casual labor force, Elain first found help from volunteers Deborah Pottkotter, Grace Alexander, Gayle Jones and daughter Sara. These individuals have now worked over 18 months as volunteers Two years and 1,300 plus cats later, Elain serves as the Managing Director of The House of Mews.

In October 1995, most of the remaining cats at Goodwin's were moved to the S. Cooper location, a much safer environment for the cats and kittens. Approximately 30 cats run loose in the store and cooperate beautifully with each other. Generally, a cat is allowed to run loose in the store after a period of two months in a cage without being adopted as long as the cat has become comfortable with the new environment. Other cats for adoption are in the large, comfortable, shelved white cages.

The Kitten Paradise is a room-sized, screened-in area which allows kittens to play and snooze together in boxes or baskets. The space is large enough for the interaction between children and adults and the kittens.

A nursery and isolation area are also available when needed. Currently in our isolation cages are Delilah and her kitten, Sacha. These cats are carriers of Feline Infectious Peritonitis (F.I.P.); however, they are asymptomatic (showing no signs of illness) and are not on medication. Delilah's three other kittens were adopted by people who had no other cats or had only another F.I.P. cat in their home and will all be kept indoors. We hope Delilah and her last kitten will have an opportunity to find a special home and live long lives as well.

As a rule, all cats who enter The House of Mews must test negative for Feline Leukemia/A.I.D.S, have a fecal exam, and be clear of any internal parasites and upper respiratory illnesses as well. We recognize the importance of maintaining a safe and sanitary environment for our felines. Until adopted, The House of Mews is their only home. While we seek to increase our capacity to provide for the many homeless cats in our area (we already have a waiting list of cats in desperate need of our services), we are currently operating at full capacity. With increasing community awareness and involvement through donations, adoptions, and contributions of goods, services, and volunteer time. The House of Mews will be able to continue providing the necessary safety and care to many homeless felines, preparing them for that special day when their new human companions come calling!

 


 

I'd like to become a Puddy Tat Protector

by Brian Harris

Every day there are many, many homeless animals who are euthanised because of overpopulation and neglect. The House of Mews' mission is to help prevent this by adopting cats to responsible people. The House of Mews is a non-profit organization which exists solely on support through donations and unpaid volunteers. In addition, retail pet supplies are sold to help defray expenses. All income goes to the 100+ cats living in the 2800 square-foot store for vet care, spaying/neutering, food, litter and all the other supplies needed to run a non-profit adoption agency. The adoption agency opened October, 23, 1995 at 944 S. Cooper, in Midtown. The volunteers who spare their extra time come from all over the Memphis area and all walks of life: police, mothers, teachers, designers, nurses, attorneys and so on. The organization's policies include the enforcement of a pre-adoption spay/neuter program, the enforcement of leukemia testing, the encouragement of desirable alternatives to euthanizing healthy animals, and the placement of our felines in the best possible homes. The organization will only take in cats through prior arrangement. We can always use volunteers to hold a cat and give him or her love, to clean litter boxes, or to work in the retail area. Goods and services are needed especially by veterinary professionals who can devote low cost service or donate medicine. The cats are on a special diet so you can buy Precise or lams cat food (avail- able on the retail side) and donate it to the cat care side. Elain Harvey, Director of the House of Mews, says, "The best way for a person who loves cats to help, is to come on in and adopt a cat, or just send one dollar. If every cat lover in Memphis would just send one dollar it would help so much." The organization is a strong supporter of spay/neuter programs. The House of Mews is a cat lover's dream and a cat's paradise! Please help us keep up the hard work by providing the funds necessary to save the lives of homeless cats.

 


 

Volunteer News

We are still in need of more volunteers for weekday mornings. If you are interested in feeding, cleaning cages, and/or petting the cats and kittens any morning during the week, please come by the store or call to let us know when you are available. Our list of volunteers include:

Elain Harvey - Founder, CEO

Alfonso, Melissa
Bell, Allison
Bertz, Christine
Bomar, Abbey
Bradfield, Rita
Butler, Jonna
Butler, Reggie
Chamness, Drew
Clamp, Sandra
Cope, Randy
Crossnoe, Steve
Curtis, Lori
Davis, Ginny

Evenson, Kris

Fabel, Kim
Ford, Mary Nell
Going, Maria
Greenfield, Danna
Hinds, Chele
Johnson, Susan
Karr, Gail
Landon, Gina
Hightower, Ann
Iacopelli, Amber
Lockwood, Kathleen
Mitchell, Carol
Nichols, Ann

O'Brien, Sherrye
Peterson, Tracy
Pottkotter, Deb
Rubenstein, Marc/Pam
Short, Justin
Simpson, Melissa
Smalley, Robin & Amber
Stubblefield, Frank
Trail, Kristi
White, Kimberly

All House of Mews volunteers are exactly what their title suggests, volunteers. No one receives money for their work at The House of Mews. Whether they clean cages, cuddle cats, or sell kitty litter, the volunteers give of their time freely and are appreciated by each and every cat and kitten. The cats and kittens living at The House of Mews depend on the volunteers for everything. Some cats show their appreciation more than others. Some have not been there long enough to call it home yet, but they all know those who feed or cuddle them. Each volunteer spends at least three hours a week working at the store. If you are unable to volunteer at set times during the week, cat brushers and petters are always welcome anytime the store is open. You would still be a volunteer and need to fill out an application. In each following issue, new volunteers will be listed and one will be highlighted as Volunteer of the Quarter. This feature will let you know a little more about a different volunteer each issue. A BIG thanks once again to all of our volunteers.

 


 

Why I Volunteer...
by Jane Vescovo

I've only been volunteering at The House of Mews for a few weeks now, but already I am coming to know and love the cats that I work with. My job is to clean their cages on Thursday mornings, and I am expected to report for duty by 9:00 a.m. Now I don't know how the rest of you all feel about getting up at 8:30 in the morning on your day off, but I personally consider it only slightly less obnoxious than toe-nail surgery. In fact, there are very few things that I would commit to doing on an early morning basis, but the lure of cat poop is a potent and powerful thing.

[ * ] Cats, of course, are not the only ones in our universe that are in need of special consideration. It seems these days that our society has become a rather hazardous place for gentle creatures to seek shelter, and I am concerned for all of those who need help and protection. I happened to choose animals as the benefactors of my meager time and attentions because it is with them that I feel most comfortable, I know that they are, above all others, completely helpless to the whims and cruelties of man.

[ * ] For many people animals are as much a part of their lives as their own two-legged family members. My current pet family consists of one big brown dog, two cats and four emergency back-up kittens on the look-out for permanent digs. They are a source of unquestioning love and loyalty, regardless of my mood, my hair, or the state of my bank account. And they are extremely good for my ego. The hoopla I encounter when I walk through my front door must surely rival the level of excitement usually reserved for the likes of Michael Jordan or Madonna. All I have to do to win the adoration of my fans is to dish out treats, kisses and walks around the block. (Of course they hide when I sing, and they trip me when I try to do lay-ups in the house).

[ * ] For me, their existence in my life, in my house, at my feet when I cook and on the end of my bed while I sleep is not optional. This is their place; this is where they belong. They shed, make smells, and eat things they're not supposed to eat (like $100 shoes and Grandma's antique sewing basket). They absolutely refuse to even consider getting a job outside the home. But those are the breaks, everyone can't be another Lassie or Morris. I love them and accept them the way they are, hairballs and all.

[ * ] It was a rather rude awakening for me to suddenly realize after years of a sheltered country life with pets of all kinds, that everyone does not feel the way I do about animals. Although my dog and I are watched by house hounds of every size and degree of furriness as we walk through our neighborhood, I have been repeatedly informed by in-the-know beaus that dogs do not belong in the house. Big brown ones must especially be kept outside. My most recent fellow announced that he would not be able to abide with waste elimination in the house. Trying to be helpful, I suggested turning the toilets into giant flower pots, but this idea was not well received.

[ * ] Everyone is entitled to his or her own idea of suitable housemates, and although I feel that the charm and wonderfulness of my pets outweigh all possible objections, I do realize that I am prejudiced. I personally do not want to live in an animal-free household, but I do not dispute others' right to prefer that lifestyle. I invoke the "live and let live" policy and go merrily on my way.

[ * ] What stops me cold in my tracks is the cruelty I've discovered in a host of average, ordinary, man-on-the-street type people. For many years I have played rescuer to lost and forsaken cats and dogs, kittens and puppies. Fortunately, my parents taught me everything I know about being tenderhearted, so for quite a while found cats had a ready-made home. Nothing lasts forever though, and when fixing dinner for the pets began to take longer than fixing dinner for him and my mom, Daddy put his foot down the cat house was closed.

[ * ] So fine, I thought. The world is full of people, and I know a lot of them. It'll be a breeze finding homes for these sweet babies. WRONG! Although the pet industry is a billion-dollar concern and growing daily, some humans are allergic to cats: their hair, their smell, their dander, their attitude, the way they wear their tails all allergens of the most vicious kind. (For those of you who really are allergic, I sympathize because you are missing out on one of the great joys in life). Of the remaining few who do not claim allergies, half have more cats than they can find names for, and the other dreaded half hate cats.

[ * ] Cat haters are the absolute pits! In disguise as nice, normal, run-of-the-mill folks, a simple question such as "Would you like a kitten?" metamorphasizes them into hideous fiends of the first order. Knowing how much I love animals, it is amazing to me how they can take such joy in telling me tales of the torture and abuse of these small, helpless animals. In the face of hurting my feelings and giving me nightmares, simple courtesy and consideration have no chance of ruling the day. As a method of self-defense, I have taken to appearing unconcerned when they light on this particular topic for amusement. Like boys in grade school, if they don't get the desired reactions, they will eventually change the subject.

[ * ] As much as I love cats, the cats themselves and the cat poop in particular are not the reasons I get out of bed at the crack of 8:30 a.m. on Thursday mornings. My friends, the cat haters, are the reasons I do that. Every cat that is in a cage at The House of Mews will not make the mistake of innocently wandering into the yard of a fiendish cat hater. These cats will not jump on their car and leave a print. They will not stalk their birds as they glare from their windows, joined in their spying by the dead eyes of the deer heads and fish trophies mounted on their walls. Nor will they eat their hot dogs full of antifreeze or their rat poison pate'. They will not end up in a heavy bag in the Mississippi River or in the bushes with a backside full of buckshot. Eventually each and every one of them will be adopted and go to a nice home. Until then, all of the cats will be petted and cared for by a host of loving "Mewettes". What more could any self-respecting Puddy Tat ask for?

Jane Vescovo works as an air traffic controller and volunteers at House of Mews every week.