Homeless Cat Management Team Clinic May 20

stray black cat

Stray black cat.

A no-charge clinic date for stray and feral cats in managed colonies is right around the corner on May 20, 2012, sponsored by the  Homeless Cat Management Team (HCMT. If you are a colony manager, get your traps ready and make your appointment. If you’re not yet registered as a colony manager, call now to register.

Register as a colony caretaker, then register for the clinic.

First, you need to register as a colony caretaker in order to be able to have cats spayed and neutered by HCMT. Call 412-321-4060 and leave a message; someone will return your call and complete your registration as a caretaker.

Second, you need to pre-register for the clinic you want to attend, and you will receive a confirming phone call to be included in the clinic. Cats MUST arrive in a standard humane box trap (Havahart, Safe-guard, Tomahawk, Tru-Catch, etc.) for the safety of all involved, with the exception of rescue cats.

All clinics are held at the Animal Rescue League of Western PA, 6620 Hamilton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.

As part of the clinic feral cats will receive:

  • spay/neuter
  • rabies vaccination
  • penicillin shot
  • analgesic
  • treatment for fleas, ticks and ear mites
  • mandatory ear-tipping

homeless cat management team logoAbout the clinics

Homeless Cat offers both no-charge and Fast Track clinics where feral cats receive all the above care and a mandatory ear-tipping, the universally-recognized sign of a cat who has been “trapped-neutered-released”. The no-charge clinic is just that—neuter, vaccinations and care at no charge for feral cats. They advise that the no-charge clinics fill up quickly, so they also offer the Fast Track clinic which offers the same service for $45 if the cat in question can’t wait.

Rescue cats

HCMT clinics are generally reserved for cats who are part of a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program and who will be returned to their colony, not taken into a home as a pet or entered into a shelter, rescue or other animal adoption program. This helps the organization and individuals spay and neuter as many homeless outdoor cats at the least cost possible for the person managing the cats, reducing future populations with each surgery.

However, they’ve recently begun to offer services to “rescue” cats on FastTrack clinic days, because it’s sometimes not possible to put a cat back outside because of health or circumstances. Also, the person who rescued the cat has often been feeding and caring for it for some time, a bond grows between them and instead of putting the cat back outside, the rescuer will take them in, an even better solution for the cat, and also the person.

FasTrack clinics are usually $45 per cat, but for rescues the pricing is a little different:

  • $60 for females
  • $35 for males
  • Rabies shots are an additional $8

Also, rescue cats do not have to be in humane traps, which is a requirement of strays and ferals, they can come in carriers.

City of Pittsburgh Spay and Neuter Program

At the end of February Pittsburgh’s City Council approved a program sponsored by Council President Darlene Harris that will provide a voucher for up to five pets per household to City of Pittsburgh residents. The bill allocates $170,000 toward the program, yet the city spends much more than that in combined animal control costs. Council decided that spaying and neutering pets of city residents will result in reduced costs immediately and into the future. Read more about it here, and if you are a City of Pittsburgh resident you can also download a form here: City of Pittsburgh’s free spay and neuter program.

The Homeless Cat Management Team is participating in this but is not yet on the form. Simply write them in when you choose your “preference” of where to get surgery performed, on the application.

Upcoming clinic dates

  • 5/20  no charge
  • 6/10  Fast Track

Keep those dates in mind, and read below about how HCMT works.

About HCMT

If you are near Pittsburgh and manage a colony of stray and feral cats or are feeding stray or feral cats anywhere outdoors, you need to know about the Homeless Cat Management Team and how they can help you care for your colony, especially with their spay and neuter clinics.

If you’re not near Pittsburgh, read on and see if there may be an organization that can help you do the same for strays and ferals near you. I’ve also included links to information about caring for strays and ferals in winter and how you can help stray and feral cats in general.

This is especially important now, as later summer and autumn kittens will begin going into their first heat as soon as the lengthening days turn their little biological clocks to “on” along with their mothers. Cats can go into heat as young as four months and can reproduce with parents and siblings.

HCMT is working toward a new permanent clinic

A permanent clinic would allow HCMT to spay and neuter 7,000 cats every year which will save the lives of tens of thousands of cats in the Pittsburgh area. Donations can be sent to HCMT, P.O. Box 100203, Pittsburgh, PA 15233-0203 or through JustGive at the HCMT website www.homelesscat.org. If you donate, include a note on the memo line about “permanent clinic” or “capital campaign”.

You can also help HCMT both generally with day to day fundraising and with outreach and fundraising for the new clinic with your volunteer efforts such as public relations, coordinating pro-bono services for printing and media, outreach, grant writing and even researching potential salary and benefit packages for clinic employees. Check Our Future on the HCMT website.

Visit their website to read more about the permanent clinic.

gray and white cat nursing two gray kittens outdoors

A Stray Cat with Her Kittens

The issue of feline overpopulation

Cats left in colonies will produce as many kittens as their bodies will allow if left unaltered, leading to disease and suffering and way too many kittens who then go on to produce more kittens.

It’s not likely, but a cat can have up to five litters in a year, bearing 6 or more kittens per litter over the course of as many as ten years, which adds up to about 300 kittens from one female cat in the course of her lifetime, not to mention the kittens her kittens produce.

More realistically, say she only has three litters of four kittens per year as Mimi did, that’s still a dozen new kittens, and even with an average 50% survival rate, that’s 60 kittens born over five years. Now add in all the kittens that those surviving kittens produce in addition to their mother, and it’s just out of control.

Ever-expanding colonies are also often the targets of abuse and “extermination”. Shelters are already full of cats who need homes, so rescue is unlikely.

The Homeless Cat Management Team offers the “Trap-Neuter-Return”, or TNR, service for feral cats which is an internationally-recognized method of helping to solve these problems by stopping the cycle of kittens and overpopulation. They just can’t produce any more kittens—and they don’t engage in the most annoying feline behaviors, such as spraying, calling for mates, caterwauling and fighting, noisy and odorous activities that often turn people against cats and colonies of strays and ferals.

tabby cat living at abandoned house

Tabby Cat Living at Abandoned House

This service is not available for household pets or even cats simply kept outdoors if they are owned by a person. This is intended to reduce stray and feral populations in colonies, cats who aren’t owned by anyone, so before registering for the clinic you must first register as a colony caretaker. For more details on the process of registering yourself as a colony caretaker and registering for a clinic, please visit the Homeless Cat Management Team’s website at www.homelesscat.org. You can also find other clinic dates and information on how you can help feral cats in many other ways.

If you’re not near Pittsburgh and you’d like to find out if there is a TNR organization near you, visit the Feral Cat Organizations listing on the Humane Society of the United States’ website. You can also find information on the Alley Cat Allies’ website under Make Connections. You can find yet more resources on the ASPCA website under TNR and Colony Management.

You don’t need to manage a colony top help feral cats. You can donate to, assist or even start a local TNR program in your area. The HSUS’s article What You Can Do to Help Feral Cats covers finding local organizations, listing options and how to pursue helping or starting a local organization, and they also have a Program Fund that you can donate to in order to assist them in helping local organizations form and operate.

Alley Cat Allies is all about assisting colony managers, and you can also donate to this organization in order to help the larger effort of local organizations.

And Alley Cat Allies has what I think is the most comprehensive information on just what feral cats are and how to care for them, including several articles on winter care, outdoor shelters, feeding and providing water in winter and avoiding hazards from chemicals like road salt and anti-freeze.

In addition to the articles, they also have a Video Library that demonstrates how to trap ferals, how to care for them, the clinic procedures and even how to speak to the public about feral cats.

You’ll also find information on other topics, such as feeding strays and ferals, letting your cat mix with strays and ferals and legislation around the country and in Canada regarding their treatment.

Here are the quick links to the sites above:

Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Rescue
HSUS Feral Cat downloadable handbook 

It’s difficult for we who love cats not to think of each of them as potential companions for us, but true feral cats were never pet cats and while they can be tamed they are a few generations removed from human contact and they’ve adapted to life without the assistance of humans. The TNR program stops the cycle of reproduction and provides them with vaccinations and care that help to protect the larger society of all cats, but the intent is not to provide them with ongoing veterinary care as we do our indoor cats, or to find them permanent homes.

That’s not to say that feral cats can’t come in. I’ve seen some feral cats who’ve been brought in to shelters for various reasons, usually because a colony was threatened by abuse or extermination, and I even rescued a single cat from a feral colony years ago, my little Moses who was near death from starvation, literally laying down and not moving she was so far gone. She was young and learned to live in the house, and she and I enjoyed nineteen years of a close and loving relationship, but I could never pick her up, she was terrified of other people though she was timid and never acted out.

A friend adopted a rescued feral from a shelter where she volunteered, and MacKenzie mingles with the other cats but has her rules, especially the one about not being put in a carrier or she’ll offer to slice open your hand, and other clever cat tricks.

Find a low-cost clinic near you

Spaying and neutering surgery can be done for as little as $25.00. 

LOW COST SPAY/NEUTER INFORMATION FOR THE PITTSBURGH AREA AND BEYOND.

Also look in the menu on this blog under “Assistance” for links to local shelters and spay/neuter clinics plus a searchable database to find the clinic nearest you anywhere in the United States and parts of Canada.

—————————————

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.



Help Homeless Cat Management Team This Weekend

homeless cat management team logoStop littering! A novel way to celebrate Earth Day by helping the Homeless Cat Management Team trap as many cats as possible from a colony near Sharpsburg, PA for spay and neuter this weekend.

They are trying to set 25 to 30 traps. They can use a few more traps and trappers for Saturday as well as transporters early Sunday morning from Sharpsburg to East Liberty for surgery.

If you can help, contact Michelle Miller at 412.420.0759 or e-mail homelesscat@live.com.

Visit the Homeless Cat Management Team website to read about the organization which is helping to manage stray and feral populations around Pittsburgh.

Also read about them here on The Creative Cat.

________________________

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.

 


Homeless Cat Management Team Clinic Dates

bedraggled long-haired orange cat outdoors

Neighborhood Stray

The Homeless Cat Management Team (HCMT) is ready to start spaying and neutering even more cats in Pittsburgh. In addition to their regular no-cost and FasTrack clinic dates for strays and ferals in managed colonies, they are now accepting rescued cats into their FasTrack clinics, and are also participating in the City of Pittsburgh’s free spay and neuter program.

Rescue cats

HCMT clinics are generally reserved for cats who are part of a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program and who will be returned to their colony, not taken into a home as a pet or entered into a shelter, rescue or other animal adoption program. This helps the organization and individuals spay and neuter as many homeless outdoor cats at the least cost possible for the person managing the cats, reducing future populations with each surgery.

However, they’ve recently begun to offer services to “rescue” cats on FastTrack clinic days, because it’s sometimes not possible to put a cat back outside because of health or circumstances. Also, the person who rescued the cat has often been feeding and caring for it for some time, a bond grows between them and instead of putting the cat back outside, the rescuer will take them in, an even better solution for the cat, and also the person.

FasTrack clinics are usually $45 per cat, but for rescues the pricing is a little different:

  • $60 for females
  • $35 for males
  • Rabies shots are an additional $8

Also, rescue cats do not have to be in humane traps, which is a requirement of strays and ferals, they can come in carriers.

City of Pittsburgh Spay and Neuter Program

At the end of February Pittsburgh’s City Council approved a program sponsored by Council President Darlene Harris that will provide a voucher for up to five pets per household to City of Pittsburgh residents. The bill allocates $170,000 toward the program, yet the city spends much more than that in combined animal control costs. Council decided that spaying and neutering pets of city residents will result in reduced costs immediately and into the future. Read more about it here, and if you are a City of Pittsburgh resident you can also download a form here: City of Pittsburgh’s free spay and neuter program.

The Homeless Cat Management Team is participating in this but is not yet on the form. Simply write them in when you choose your “preference” of where to get surgery performed, on the application.

Upcoming clinic dates

  • 4/1  Fast Track
  • 4/22  Fast Track
  • 5/20  no charge
  • 6/10  Fast Track

Keep those dates in mind, and read below about how HCMT works.

About HCMT

If you are near Pittsburgh and manage a colony of stray and feral cats or are feeding stray or feral cats anywhere outdoors, you need to know about the Homeless Cat Management Team and how they can help you care for your colony, especially with their spay and neuter clinics.

If you’re not near Pittsburgh, read on and see if there may be an organization that can help you do the same for strays and ferals near you. I’ve also included links to information about caring for strays and ferals in winter and how you can help stray and feral cats in general.

This is especially important now, as later summer and autumn kittens will begin going into their first heat as soon as the lengthening days turn their little biological clocks to “on” along with their mothers. Cats can go into heat as young as four months and can reproduce with parents and siblings.

Register as a colony caretaker, then register for the clinic.

First, you need to register as a colony caretaker in order to be able to have cats spayed and neutered by HCMT. Call 412-321-4060 and leave a message; someone will return your call and complete your registration as a caretaker.

Second, you need to pre-register for the clinic you want to attend, and you will receive a confirming phone call to be included in the clinic. Cats MUST arrive in a standard humane box trap (Havahart, Safe-guard, Tomahawk, Tru-Catch, etc.) for the safety of all involved, with the exception of rescue cats.

All clinics are held at the Animal Rescue League of Western PA, 6620 Hamilton Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206.

As part of the clinic feral cats will receive:

  • spay/neuter
  • rabies vaccination
  • penicillin shot
  • analgesic
  • treatment for fleas, ticks and ear mites
  • mandatory ear-tipping

About the clinics

Homeless Cat offers both no-charge and Fast Track clinics where feral cats receive all the above care and a mandatory ear-tipping, the universally-recognized sign of a cat who has been “trapped-neutered-released”. The no-charge clinic is just that—neuter, vaccinations and care at no charge for feral cats. They advise that the no-charge clinics fill up quickly, so they also offer the Fast Track clinic which offers the same service for $45 if the cat in question can’t wait.

HCMT is working toward a new permanent clinic

A permanent clinic would allow HCMT to spay and neuter 7,000 cats every year which will save the lives of tens of thousands of cats in the Pittsburgh area. Donations can be sent to HCMT, P.O. Box 100203, Pittsburgh, PA 15233-0203 or through JustGive at the HCMT website www.homelesscat.org. If you donate, include a note on the memo line about “permanent clinic” or “capital campaign”.

You can also help HCMT both generally with day to day fundraising and with outreach and fundraising for the new clinic with your volunteer efforts such as public relations, coordinating pro-bono services for printing and media, outreach, grant writing and even researching potential salary and benefit packages for clinic employees. Check Our Future on the HCMT website.

Visit their website to read more about the permanent clinic.

gray and white cat nursing two gray kittens outdoors

A Stray Cat with Her Kittens

The issue of feline overpopulation

Cats left in colonies will produce as many kittens as their bodies will allow if left unaltered, leading to disease and suffering and way too many kittens who then go on to produce more kittens.

It’s not likely, but a cat can have up to five litters in a year, bearing 6 or more kittens per litter over the course of as many as ten years, which adds up to about 300 kittens from one female cat in the course of her lifetime, not to mention the kittens her kittens produce.

More realistically, say she only has three litters of four kittens per year as Mimi did, that’s still a dozen new kittens, and even with an average 50% survival rate, that’s 60 kittens born over five years. Now add in all the kittens that those surviving kittens produce in addition to their mother, and it’s just out of control.

Ever-expanding colonies are also often the targets of abuse and “extermination”. Shelters are already full of cats who need homes, so rescue is unlikely.

The Homeless Cat Management Team offers the “Trap-Neuter-Return”, or TNR, service for feral cats which is an internationally-recognized method of helping to solve these problems by stopping the cycle of kittens and overpopulation. They just can’t produce any more kittens—and they don’t engage in the most annoying feline behaviors, such as spraying, calling for mates, caterwauling and fighting, noisy and odorous activities that often turn people against cats and colonies of strays and ferals.

tabby cat living at abandoned house

Tabby Cat Living at Abandoned House

This service is not available for household pets or even cats simply kept outdoors if they are owned by a person. This is intended to reduce stray and feral populations in colonies, cats who aren’t owned by anyone, so before registering for the clinic you must first register as a colony caretaker. For more details on the process of registering yourself as a colony caretaker and registering for a clinic, please visit the Homeless Cat Management Team’s website at www.homelesscat.org. You can also find other clinic dates and information on how you can help feral cats in many other ways.

If you’re not near Pittsburgh and you’d like to find out if there is a TNR organization near you, visit the Feral Cat Organizations listing on the Humane Society of the United States’ website. You can also find information on the Alley Cat Allies’ website under Make Connections. You can find yet more resources on the ASPCA website under TNR and Colony Management.

You don’t need to manage a colony top help feral cats. You can donate to, assist or even start a local TNR program in your area. The HSUS’s article What You Can Do to Help Feral Cats covers finding local organizations, listing options and how to pursue helping or starting a local organization, and they also have a Program Fund that you can donate to in order to assist them in helping local organizations form and operate.

Alley Cat Allies is all about assisting colony managers, and you can also donate to this organization in order to help the larger effort of local organizations.

And Alley Cat Allies has what I think is the most comprehensive information on just what feral cats are and how to care for them, including several articles on winter care, outdoor shelters, feeding and providing water in winter and avoiding hazards from chemicals like road salt and anti-freeze.

In addition to the articles, they also have a Video Library that demonstrates how to trap ferals, how to care for them, the clinic procedures and even how to speak to the public about feral cats.

You’ll also find information on other topics, such as feeding strays and ferals, letting your cat mix with strays and ferals and legislation around the country and in Canada regarding their treatment.

Here are the quick links to the sites above:

Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Rescue
HSUS Feral Cat downloadable handbook 

It’s difficult for we who love cats not to think of each of them as potential companions for us, but true feral cats were never pet cats and while they can be tamed they are a few generations removed from human contact and they’ve adapted to life without the assistance of humans. The TNR program stops the cycle of reproduction and provides them with vaccinations and care that help to protect the larger society of all cats, but the intent is not to provide them with ongoing veterinary care as we do our indoor cats, or to find them permanent homes.

That’s not to say that feral cats can’t come in. I’ve seen some feral cats who’ve been brought in to shelters for various reasons, usually because a colony was threatened by abuse or extermination, and I even rescued a single cat from a feral colony years ago, my little Moses who was near death from starvation, literally laying down and not moving she was so far gone. She was young and learned to live in the house, and she and I enjoyed nineteen years of a close and loving relationship, but I could never pick her up, she was terrified of other people though she was timid and never acted out.

A friend adopted a rescued feral from a shelter where she volunteered, and MacKenzie mingles with the other cats but has her rules, especially the one about not being put in a carrier or she’ll offer to slice open your hand, and other clever cat tricks.

Find a low-cost clinic near you

Spaying and neutering surgery can be done for as little as $25.00. 

LOW COST SPAY/NEUTER INFORMATION FOR THE PITTSBURGH AREA AND BEYOND.

Also look in the menu on this blog under “Assistance” for links to local shelters and spay/neuter clinics plus a searchable database to find the clinic nearest you anywhere in the United States and parts of Canada.

—————————————

All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.



Pittsburgh implements free animal spay, neuter program

bedraggled long-haired orange cat outdoors

Orange cat who needs to be neutered.

What a great way to celebrate Spay Day!

“Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and City Council President Darlene Harris today kicked off a free spay and neuter program that’s intended to reach 3,000 dogs and cats this year.”

READ THE ARTICLE IN THE PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE:

Pittsburgh implements free animal spay, neuter program.

DOWNLOAD AN APPLICATION:

This includes a choice of places where you’d prefer to go for your spay or neuter. The Homeless Cat Management Team is participating in this but is not yet on the form. Simply write them in when you choose your “preference” of where to get surgery performed, on the application.

CityOfPghSpayNeuterApp


WPHS Taste of Station Square Tonight!

advertisement for sample of station square

Join us at historic Station Square in Pittsburgh tonight for an event to benefit the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society!

The Western PA Humane Society and Station Square will be holding the 8th Annual Sample of Station Square Event. A ticket and map will help you explore beautiful Station Square and try menu items from its many great restaurants.

You can also browse donated items and bid to win.

And you can also browse very adoptable cats, dogs and bunnies! Perhaps you’ll meet your new best friend!

VIP Cruise 4:30 – 5:15 pm

VIP Cruise:  Recommended time to be at the dock 4:00 pm,  boarding 4:15 – 4:30 pm   Boat leaves the dock promptly at 4:30 pm

Sampling at Restaurants: 5:30 – 8:00 pm

Dessert Party:    8:00 – 9:15 pm

Tickets are $35.00 in advance, $40.00 at the door and VIP tickets are $60.00.

Here is my article from last year’s event.

kitten gets a kiss

"Yes, you may kiss my forehead."

I stopped in today to drop off my donation item and parked by the WPHS van:

side of shelter van

Kitties in a row.

back of shelter van

Passengers.

Here’s the special entrance for the many volunteers who were out even today in 90+ weather to walk dogs!

dog-walking door

The special entrance.

And their new Woof, Purr and Hop Shop, right by the front door so people can purchase their pet needs before they even leave the shelter. Here’s the feline section.

photo of cat items in store at wphs

The feline section.


Hot Dogs on a Hot Day

my tent at the Animal Rescue league

My tent at the event, before it blew down.

We did have fun baking ourselves on the street last Saturday at Hot Dogs in the Strip with the Animal Rescue League! It was so hot that we had to be careful of the animals—the kitties had to go back to the shelter—and even the humans were hiding inside the hot dog shop, but once the street fell into shade we had many more people to visit.

karen with customer

Karen discusses her CD with a customer.

I was next to my friend Karen Litzinger, author of Heal Your Heart, who helped me to set up—and clean up when my tent blew down later in the day! I rarely take the large original paintings here, but when there’s a chance of marketing commissioned portraits it’s best to have a live one on hand. Nothing was broken, and only a frame on one of my photos was damaged in a way that I can use just for display or at home, so no great loss, though I did decide that I would finally purchase a real festival tent, not the cheap thing I’ve used for years and always had problems with.

I also got to meet several people I’d only corresponded with, and also bought a bag of cat food from a holistic practitioner who spent a few years developing her own pet food. I’ll be checking back with her after the kitties finish this bag to talk about her process of developing and manufacturing the food.

dog with flower

Dog with a spray-on tattoo.

One of the vendors was offering spray-on tattoos, and a person had their dogs “tattooed”. Love the big flower! The decorate swirls on the other dog looked so natural that at first I didn’t realize they were a tattoo.

spray on tattoo on dog

Just a small spray-on tattoo.

One of the dogs for adoption was indeed adopted by a couple who came to the event intending to find a dog, and they did. I’m not sure which dog it was because of all the shuffling, but I do know it was one of the pit bull mixes. There are so many in shelters and they are so hard to adopt that it’s always good to see one go home with a family.

martha the owl

Martha the Owl

The animals from the wildlife center had to wait because of the heat as well, so Martha the Demonstration Owl came to visit later in the day. She is a great-horned owl, and was found on the side of a road with a broken wing. She had apparently been coming in for a landing to scavenge some road kill on the berm when a car clipped the end of her wing. She was still alive and not in bad shape, but the wing had begun to heal with the bones twisted inside.

owl and handler

Martha and her handler have a talk.

Martha’s handler explained that avian bones are very lightweight and hollow and can’t be re-broken and re-set as mammalian bones can be, so they just had to let the bones continue healing, but she can’t fly, so she can’t be released. Any animals that are rehabilitated that can’t be released for any reason are kept for the rest of their lives, though not all of them are pressed into service like Martha, though she doesn’t seem to mind.


Hot Dogs for the Animal Rescue League this Saturday!

event flyer

Hot Dogs in the Strip

It’s a street fair for the animals this Saturday as the Animal Rescue League takes over a block of the Strip District! Join us from noon to 7:00 p.m. at 2701 Penn Avenue.

Seventeen vendors will be offering things for your pets, things for you, information and of course the ARL will be there with cats and dogs who are ready to go home with you!

The Animal Rescue League is also offering games and crafts for kids, and several musicians will sit in during the day.

I’ll be right next to Karen Litzinger, author of Heal Your Heart, and I’m looking forward to seeing a few other animal-themed vendors I haven’t seen yet this year.

If you’re in Pittsburgh, I hope to see you there! And I hope to have great adoption numbers to report, too!

The event benefits both the shelter and the ARL Wildlife Center.


Art Markets and Animal Lovers

my setup with sally

My display with an old friend.

With a display full of artwork inspired by my cats and other animals, I am sure to collect stories from people passing by. The image of my Cookie as “The Goddess” is especially inviting to people, but many things in my display will catch animal lover’s eye, from cats to dogs to wild birds to wildlife.

wool bird wristlets

Bird wristlets made from recycled wool sweaters.

And I’m not the only artist around who’s inspired by my cats and other animals! As more and more small festivals and markets have been available, we’ve been meeting up and sharing stories and ideas. In the past we’ve been most successful at events focusing on animals, but the market for products for pets and their people has grown—it’s been the one “growth market” during the recent recession—so we can now have a successful day of sales at non-animal events and general marketplaces.

chaz letzkus

Chaz Letzkus at his table.

I’ve written about my friend Chaz Letzkus and his hidden animal drawings before and I’ll be writing more about his new projects, and also about Amanda Brewer and the wonderful cat and dog collars she makes inspired by her little kitty Bijou.

Amanda Brewer

Amanda Brewer among her colorful collars.

My recent day at the Artisan Market in Pittsburgh’s Strip District (no we don’t have to strip naked, it was originally a long “strip” of wholesale warehouses) was great fun and highly successful. Generally frequented by wholesale buyers, Saturday is the big shopping day for the general public as fruit, vegetable and meat markets are open and sellers set up on the sidewalk with everything from flowers to logo toilet seats (really).

strip district pittsburgh

The view outside the nearest door.

This particular Saturday was hot, but the sidewalks were crowded with rivers of people all on the lookout for a bargain or an unusual item. The building that houses the Artisan Market is basically just a big warehouse, and the receiving bays on street level aren’t used anymore. That’s where we are, in a big old garage! They simply open the big bay doors and we set up on concrete floors with open beams strung with trouble lights and Christmas lights. But on a hot day that thick layer of concrete kept the heat out, and the bay doors allowed a breeze to move through making for a comfortable day of setting up at 7:30 and tearing down at 4:00 and and arranging and rearranging and greeting customers and visitors during all the hours in between.

artisan market

Artisan Market at 20th and Penn.

The only risk of setting up with animal artwork at a general-interest event is that your market is limited, and when you’ve paid to display items you’ve made by hand or created from your work like my note cards and prints, you think twice about the expense and time when a fraction of the people passing your display will be interested.

my setup in the strip

Cookie is featured prominently.

But I think more pet owners have taken a greater interest in gift items for their pets, themselves and other pet owners. I also think that part of that interest has grown from being able to meet the artist who has designed and made these things, hearing about their inspirations to create from their own pets and then sharing their stories. It creates a bond between the maker and the consumer that is deeply personal.

And because my merchandise is largely created with images of the cats I’ve loved through the years, and with the artwork I’ve spent most of my adult life creating, I love meeting the person who wants to own it, who shares their story with me, and who takes a part of me with them.

So, on to the next events! If you’re in Pittsburgh, stop by and say hello, and if not I’ll be sure to share my animal stories.

August 14 Mt. Washington Art Market
August 21 Artisan Market in the Strip District
August 28 Street Fair in the Strip with the Animal Rescue League
September 4 Mt. Washington Art Market
September 9-10-11 Carnegie Arts & Heritage Festival
September 18 Artisan Market in the Strip District
September 25 (afternoon) Applejamm at Beechwood Farms/Audubon Society
September 25 (evening) Best Friends’ Ball with the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society

BUY FRESH, BUY LOCAL, BUY HANDMADE!


Meet the Barbary Lion Cubs

barbary lion cub video

Barbary Lion Cub Video

The Barbary Lion, the world’s largest lion, has been extinct in the wild since 1921 but exists in breeding programs at zoos. These cubs were born July 7 at Living Treasures Animal Park north of Pittsburgh.

The cubs are being hand raised and will be sent to the breeding programs at other zoos to help maintain the species distribution.

In the meantime, they are squirmy little balls of cute!

Here is the link to the video on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website, or click on the image above:

http://video.post-gazette.com/global/video/popup/pop_playerLaunch.asp?vt1=v&clipFormat=flv&clipId1=4951025&at1=Promotion 1&h1=Creature Feature: Barbary lion cubs&flvUri=&partnerclipid=

And here’s a link to the staff’s blog about the interview with the cubs and their handlers, and more photos:

http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/living/summerburgh/20155-cutest-assignment-ever