Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hairballs 12/30/10

The newsletter of thanks from grateful animals to their beloved rescuers brought to you by Vincent D. Cat   

We are the happy animals of Rikki’s Refuge who so thank you for giving us the gift of our lives.  We represent all the animals, the world over, whose lives have been saved by kind and loving people just like you.  Thank you for being an animal rescuer. 

2010 is coming to a close!!!  Here’s a great big heartfelt THANK YOU for making the dream of Rikki’s Refuge live on for another year!!!  1,259 animals thank you every day of the year for the gift of live.  Without YOU there would be no Rikki’s Refuge.  And with no Rikki’s Refuge very few of our 1,259 residents would be alive today.  Thank you.  There’s no better gift than life!

And as they say, when one door closes, another opens!!  2011 will soon be opening.  And what have YOU got planned?  I sure hope you’ll spend some of your early 2011 days with us!!  Here’s a run down of what’s happening.

Saturday, noon, Jan 1, New Years Pristine Nature Hike

First event of 2011 - the traditional New Year’s Hike.  Over the river and thru the woods, and we’re not kidding.  You might find some trails or you might blaze them.  Follow Fred’s bright orange vest - and please wear bright orange or red yourself, no hunting on our property but poachers have been known to trespass - and he’ll get you back to the complex sooner or later!!!  The November hike took a few twists and turns and ambled thru the brambles - but they did arrive alive and uneaten by bears!!!! 

Nature hike takes off at noon sharp.  Don’t be late cuz you can’t catch up.  Gates open at 11:30 am on the first. 

It’s outdoors so dress for the weather and before heading out that day call 540-854-0870 x3 to confirm that it’s on.  Bad weather shuts down our road very quickly and for your safety we have to cancel if it’s been too wet or there’s any ice.

Admission is a case of canned cat food per person!

Saturday, noon - 2 pm, Donation Drop-Off, got something to drop off quick?  The gates will be unlocked.  No tour at this time, just drop off.  Donation Drop Off will be available virtually every Saturday from noon - 2 pm in 2011

Saturday evening, celebrate the first at Mariza’s in Spotsylvania, contact for more info
Mariza has invited me and my close friends to her house in Spotsylvania on the evening of the first, Saturday evening.  This is Mariza our great chef who did Thanksgiving dinner.  She’s NOT going to be our chef this time!!!  That’s a lot of work and no time for all the fancies.  It’s pot luck appetizers and snacks.  She’s near route 3 and 20 in Spotsylvania about 20 minutes from the Refuge. 

Sunday, noon, Jan 2, Tour of the Refuge with Katarina.  This is the first of our mini weekly tours.  Sundays at noon, unless there’s been another public event that week.

Tax Deductions and Doubling your Donations
Time is just about up to save on your taxes.  All donations to Rikki’s Refuge are tax deductible. See your money work where you want it to!  As long as your check is written by the 31st and ready to be sent, it will count toward deductions for 2010.   Rikki’s Refuge, PO Box 1357, Orange VA 22960 or
We’re working real hard to win the Double Your Donations Challenge. 

And look at how close we are!!!!
Only $3,736.88 left to go!!!
75% of the way there!!
That’s almost to the Finish Line !!!
Go Go Go
Come on - enlist your friends!!  Together we CAN do it !!!
Double Your Donations Challenge
This is it my friends LAST CHANCE - log your donation in by midnight!!
If you’re mailing a check today, it will count if you date your check with the day you write it!!

Join my Army!

If you can chip in one or two or five dollars to help us meet this goal, we’d appreciate it so much.  it takes a lot of money to care for 1,259 animals every day.  Each and every day.  Food, bedding, housing, medicine.  We need your help.

Thank you!  There’s nothing more precious to give, than life!


An especially big thanks to Katie and Grant Fincham, who knew the ice and the snow was coming and towed the trooper into their shop and got it all fixed up safe and sound!!   Now we have good reliable 4 wheel drive transportation for the winter.

Thanks to the wonderful story in the Free Lance-Star about our Christmas Day Tour, we had a tremendous turn out.  Despite the freezing - literally - weather, snow flurries, wind and ice, 125 people showed up to visit the animals, bringing with them lots and lots of food!

A huge thank you the volunteers who came to be Tour Guides instead of spending the day inside by the fireplace with their families.   Thank you Jan Chetnik, Larry Ramsey, Mary Walker, Laurie Karnay, Cindy Wright who gave tours and to Katarina who helped log and store all the goodies. 

The wrappers at Barnes and Noble only had two and a partial days and they wrapped enough to run the refuge for a day!!!  Yiippeeee!!!  Huge thank you to Candy Erhard who orchestrated it and to all you wrappers!!!!

Great big thanks to Melissa Felts and those of you who helped with Santa Claws at PetSmart - you raised enough to run the refuge for a day !!!!

A big thanks to Katarina Galvin for the Angle Tree Program that brought in truck loads of nums!!   You’re feeding us!!

These are the kind of events you can participate in anywhere in the country - or even the world to help raise the funds to support the animals. 

During the year tabling events are great - sitting outside stores handing out flyers and accepting donations!  Bake sale, garage sales.  Going to events, Wine Festivals, Craft Festivals - anywhere people are - hand out brochures and have a collection can handy!!  That’s all it takes.  So many people are happy to help and make a donation if only they knew about us!

If you love Rikki’s Refuge - help us spread the word in 2011 - invite one new friend each month to become a Rikki’s Family Member!

Farwell to Bernard A. Sekely, a great friend to the animals, who passed over the Rainbow Bridge on December 16th.  You leave behind many who love you.

Meet River Rat

River Rat is one of those I didn’t take "before" pictures of.  I didn’t think she stood a chance of recovery.  I can never bring myself to take pictures of the ones that I don’t think will make it.  It just feels wrong.  River Rat came to us almost three years ago.  She was one of the most pathetic things I’ve ever seen.  Her legs were rotting off from the elbows and knees down.   She was skin and bones.

She’d been found floating on a log with all four legs dangling down in the water in Georgia.  Someone rescued her and she found her way to Winging Cat Rescue where a foster mom started to care for her.  The doctors there and her foster mom worked really hard trying to save her legs.  Every toe was badly infected, the pads almost shredded, infection in the bone had deformed the legs.  Poor little River Rat couldn’t even sit up, let alone take a walk.  She couldn’t even get to a litterbox.

The wounds had gotten better, but were not totally healing.  It seemed no matter what medications were used, the infection would just come back.  She sure seemed like a hopeless case.  We’d just healed Merlin from a horrible mauling where he’d lost the skin on almost half of one side of his body.  And so Barbara at Winging Cat Rescue asked me to please try and see what we could do for River Rat. 

She described it all to me, yet I was still shocked to see this poor little thing.  Did we stand a chance of saving her?  I’ll do anything in the world to save somebody as long as I can believe there is hope.  When I know there isn’t, then I have to let go and let them go to Rainbow Bridge.  What should I do? 

River Rat had the brightest eyes and though she was timid and fearful, something about her begged to be given a chance.  And so we went to work.  Management, care and cleaning of the wounds and helping them to get about without causing any more injury is what it’s all about.  Soaking foot and leg wounds on dogs or horses is one thing.  Cats, who hate water, quite another.  And poor River Rat had to endure long soaks four times a day.

Those of you who’ve dealt with an injury on a cat that required soaking are, no doubt, thinking, but didn’t you get bite and clawed.  Not clawed as her toes were so damaged and swollen she could barely moor her hands or feet.  Bit - you bet ‘ch!  It’s all part of the job.  Fortunately we all understand that it’s just a response out of fear an no evil is meant, and so we soak ourselves, bandage up, and go on.

Eventually River Rats knees and elbows began to heal.  Gradually the infection receded down the legs.  Finally the swelling in the paws went down.  We wondered if the toes would ever heal.  Would some or all end up having to be amputated?  She had begun to walk on the pads without putting the toes down.  Her legs were quite twisted and badly damaged.  But she was virtually pain free and starting to act like a cat.

And one by one the toes healed.  One stayed limp and swollen a few weeks longer.  And then finally healed.  Over the next year the fur grew back to cover the scars and she continued with physical therapy on her toes and fingers and wrists and ankles and elbows and knees twice a day.  She thought of her therapy times as play times.  She began to run and play. 

That last toe healed!  We all sobbed tears of joy!  Her right arm twists slightly out but you don’t even notice it when you watch her play and run.  She’s now a mascot kitty and has free range of the farm.  She prefers to be out most of the time.  We’re making her come in at night now cuz she just doesn’t see to go somewhere warm and we don’t like her just sitting around sleeping on the ground in this snow. 

She’s not really caged in the picture above.  She comes into the 9th Life Center and enjoys finding a bed in an empty cage to use for the night.  She’s just snuggling down for the night.  First crack of dawn, and she’ll be back out playing.

Interview with River Rat

Meet Ting Ting
About 2 am the other day (you want to know more details read the blogged Good Morning Good News from 12/29) mom scrambled up an egg for Ting Ting.  But Ting Ting was missing!  Mom looked all over and couldn’t find her.  She loves to climb to the highest place possible and mom thought she’d looked everywhere.  She gave up.  Later that morning at 5:30 Ting Ting was found sleeping way up high, right near the ceiling on top of a bin on top of the cages.  She stuck her head down when breakfast cans started opening.  Mom gave her her COLD egg then!  And she gobbled it up.

This film was made before Ting Ting came to Rikki’s

We think Ting Ting should be our representative in the Agility Contest at the Cat Show next year.  I thought I did just fine but the hoomans said .....

Meet Baby Elliot and Osiris

Baby Elliot has been with us a few years.  He’s one BIG boy.  And with all that yak like fur you’d think he loves the outside world.  But NO, not Baby Elliot.  He despises the snow and doesn’t think much of the cold either.  He does however love to lay on straw and hay and was thrilled when Ivory the sheep was sick and had to come inside CUZ he got to sleep in the hay and in the warm!!!   

Baby Elliot tests positive for fiv.  Fiv is spread by un-neutered street males.  Most of our fiv kitties are middle aged and older former toms.  They live very healthy active lives and don’t seem to have any health problems negative kitties do.  The leading cause of death for fiv cats is being murdered in shelters cuz they test positive.  We’re working to educate folks that it’s fine to let the fiv kitties live.  After all they’re going to live a purrfectly normal natural life and likely live to be 15-20 years old - if you just let them!!

Osiris and siblings came to us in 2010.  Due to a genetic disease only Osiris and sister Mystique are still with us.  They seemed to have stopped growing and this just might be what’s saved them. 

We never know how long any of us have to live on this planet.  We all want to live for ever and we want our friends to live for ever too.  But sometimes that’s just not the way it is.  Some critters who were born to young mothers who were starving while pregnant and exposed to all kinds of diseases while tiny babies have a lot of problems and defects that will often make them small and make their life span short.  Maybe 1 or 3 or 5 years instead of 10 or 15 or 20.  It’s one of those things you can’t control.

But I’ll tell you how it is at Rikki’s Refuge - no matter how long your life span - we promise to love you and care for you the whole time !!!!   

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Happy New Years to you DOG LOVERS!!!

Happy New Years to you CAT LOVERS!!!

And HAPPY NEW YEARS to you no matter who you love!!!


Please help us if you can

The Fine Print
Rikki's Refuge in Orange County, Virginia, is a 367-acre, no-kill, all species, peaceful sanctuary supported solely by donations from kind and loving individuals just like you!   We help farm animals, domestic animals, and wildlife.  Over 1200 individuals of 22 different species now reside at Rikki's Refuge.  Please continue to help us help the animals.  To learn more about Rikki's Refuge go to,, and . 

We survive on donations from kind and loving people, just like you.  We live on a shoestring and make it on less than one dollar per day, per animal.  So if you can spare a couple of bucks to buy a few meals, please go to and use our email address of .  We do accept checks, money orders, cash and stuff, too!  Thanks for your support.  Rikki's Refuge, PO Box 1357, Orange VA 22960

Your donations directly support the Critters of Rikki’s Refuge.  Rikki's Refuge is owned and operated by Life Unlimited of Virginia, Inc., an IRS 501(c)(3) not-for-profit Virginia Corporation. Federal Tax-ID 54-1911042. We hold membership in all Combined Federal Campaigns in Virginia #77674, Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign #3163, PetsMart Charities #1377, iGive, Benevolink, (, your donations provide direct support. A financial statement is available upon written request from the State Office of Consumer Affairs.

If you know others who'd enjoy reading about the exciting adventures at Rikki's Refuge let me know and I'll be happy to include them.  If you are one of those strange humans who does not wish to laugh and cry with us, simply reply with "REMOVE" and nothing but "REMOVE" in the subject line. 

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