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Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
A tale of two kitties: Jimbo and Jules get new names, homes
By Lisa Heyamoto
Now called Sachi and scampering around the home of his new owner, Susan Worden-Jacoby, he's all wide eyes, curious sniffs and wild leaps with slightly compromised landings. Chin scratch? Why, yes, please. An adoring Worden-Jacoby is happy to dole them out.
Three months ago, he was found with his sister, Jules, abandoned on the side of Highway 99 in Lynnwood. No one knows where they came from. What mattered was what they'd each become: Yet another stray cat.
Last year, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), just one of several animal-rescue organizations in the Puget Sound area, received 2,476 cats that were either found stray or turned in by a guardian. Each year, the estimated 160,000 un-spayed mama cats in the region, themselves unwanted, can produce more than three litters a year, exponentially increasing the number of orphaned kitties roaming the streets. (Unwanted puppies and dogs also clog local shelters each year.)
Jimbo, a scrappy little tabby with sapphire eyes, and sister Jules, a white and gray fuzzball with a penchant for stomach rubs, were both too young, skittish and underweight to be adopted when they were brought into the shelter in June. The rule, says Liz Longworth, PAWS foster-care coordinator, is a kitten must be 8 weeks old and weigh at least 2 pounds before it can be spayed or neutered, which is required before sending it to the Cat City storefront in Greenwood in hopes of finding a permanent home.
About 30 percent of the stray kittens PAWS receives go immediately to a foster home to fatten up, Longworth said; some require such vigilant care as bottlefeeding. It took Jimbo and Jules more than a month in their respective foster homes to gain enough weight to be able to undergo their operations.
PAWS is always on the lookout for new foster parents, and sometimes is forced to double up cats in homes to meet the need, especially in late spring, prime kitten season. Foster parents must be interviewed and attend an orientation before accepting animals, and are trained in the medical tasks that could come up for their charges. But the payback, Longworth said, is why many come back every year.
"You get to play with kittens, but not worry about the commitment," she said. "Everyone wants that."
Early warm spells mean longer cat-mating seasons, and this year many local shelters reported being overwhelmed by the amount of homeless kittens. Roughly three-quarters of the cats PAWS received last year were adopted, but 360 had to be euthanized despite the shelter's best efforts. Happily, most kittens are adopted within days of arriving at Cat City, though the older cats often go a bit more slowly. Jimbo and Jules were snapped up within hours, with Worden-Jacoby returning the following day for that personality-plus kitten she'd fallen for the day before.
Jules sold herself
Meanwhile, Franny Fleischman knew instantly that she'd found her "Esmeralda" in Jules. With the pre-picked name taken from a French hotel, all she needed was the cat, and Jules' pluck and feistiness caught her eye immediately.
Now almost 4 months old and stealing the show at their respective new homes, the siblings formerly known as Jimbo and Jules are settled in. Jimbo, with his new kitty-best-friend Benji, and Jules, with dogs and friends to spare.
Both seem to love music, are affectionate and playful and are basking in the constant love and attention that are a kitten's due. As one of Fleischman's four friends reaches down for a little Esmeralda love, Fleischman tells it like it is for the fluffy focus-hog at her feet.
"She gets a lot of attention."
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