Saturday, July 24, 2010

Playing the Name Game Never Gets Dull

The cutest takeover mankind has ever witnessed has begun and....there is no end in sight.

It seems the most common question one might ask during a cat adoption is: "Who names the cats?". After all, there must be some mad genius writer behind the scenes whose sole purpose is to come up with unique and creative names for every cat and kitten that enters the SF/SPCA, right? Well, almost. Some of the cats come in with names from previous homes while others simply have names invented or reinvented by our intake staff. Usually it's the first person to see the cat and enter the information in a computer.

You can imagine how difficult it can be to find individual titles for over 4,000 cats a year without repeating or confusing two that already exist. It truly boggles the mind, but the challenge is a fun one, when it gets down to it.

 In fact, for some of us, it becomes an obsession.

Picture yourself at home, reading a book or watching your favorite tv show. Suddenly... POP... a series of names, themes and categories enters your thought process. The next thing you know, you are writing down names on a scratch pad, searching the Internet or filling your mental Rolodex.

The wipe board outside the Non-contagious Kitten Room
There are methods to our madness. Litters of kittens are named with themes that keep them together. An example would be : Corona, Pacifico and Modelo. Maybe someone was at a BBQ and they thought, " Hmm, I think I'll name some kittens after my favorite beers!" Sometimes we choose to name them by First Initial, like Reggie, Ronald and Ralphie. Moms with kittens get named with themes that tie the kittens to the mom. For instance: A mom named Petrolina will have kittens named Exxon, Texaco, Mobil, Shell & Chevron. Not the most conventional labels but hey....we have SO MANY kittens it gets creatively competitive.

"BONES" the cat whose face looks like a skull

Then, there's the obvious technique of naming a cat based on physical features that stand out. A cat with an amputated tail will be named "Nubbin". An older more dignified mom cat that has had one too many litters is called "Grandma". A cat that was born with some toes missing will be "Little Foot". The sweet tabby with glowing orange eyes is dubbed 'XRAY Specks". The possibilities are endless folks.


We take our naming seriously. Sometimes we take it so seriously that we get offended when someone doesn't like our choices and changes the name of an overweight cat from Tsunami  to Tugboat. Or, we secretly feel proud when we hear the names we created mentioned around the shelter, on the news or from an admiring would be-adopter. Imagine just how far a name can travel.

There are over 260 individual and amazing cats in our shelter. Each with a name that calls to you. Please help put the SF/SPCA this summer and put a name to a face. The name game has no losers, only winners.

Don't forget about our upcoming adopt-a-thon next weekend!!!!

Daniel Quagliozzi
SF/SPCA Feline Care Coordinator

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Adoption is Patriotic! We Want YOU!!!

I think this picture sums up the way most of us feel when the Kitten Season is upon us. If anything, it keeps us laughing and in generally good spirits, despite what seems to be an onslaught of  fuzzy cuteness. Don't forget, no matter how adorable kittens are, 100 + that need to be fed, medically treated and cleaned up after will take their toll on the people that care for them each and everyday.

This is what we signed up for the minute we all stepped into the SF/SPCA and decided that this was where we wanted to devote our lives. However, a little known syndrome called "Compassion Fatigue" can claim many victims this time of year. We are all so very tired, yet...we don't stop. We can't stop. Animal sheltering leaves very little room for arbitrary decision making and it doesn't stop just because you went home for the day. You live, breathe and dream cats 24/7.

Adoptions are what allow shelters to save lives. Without loving homes, cats, kittens, dogs and puppies languish in some shelters and in the very worst of scenarios, are euthanized as a result of the behavior and medical changes that evolve. Our commitment to finding homes for the hard cases sometimes far exceeds our own comfort level.  We depend on the Bay Area Community to alleviate the traffic much like a bottle neck on a major highway.

The total population of cats in our shelter is reaching a crisis level. Our current total number ranges from 243 to 260 cats depending on whats offered from SF Animal Control and the unfortunate circumstances of our fragile economy, often resulting in cats being returned into a system that is already operating at full capacity. As you can imagine, we keep close tabs on our cat population because not only do we want to keep them healthy and happy but we also need to maintain a work force that is physically able to care for them without spreading themselves too thin. This my friends.... is the hardest equation we have to solve each day. How much is too much? 

With that being said, consider this a plea for help. We need our communities help more than ever before. If you have room in your heart and home for a cat or kitten, please come to the SF/SPCA and help our cause. Tell a friend. Tell an enemy. We need you this summer and perhaps the most patriotic move one can make is adopting a Domestic Mixed American cat. Yes, this includes exotic breeds too!

We've dropped our fees and extended our low adoption rates through the summer. The choices are limitless and the love will last a lifetime. What's your excuse?

Daniel Quagliozzi
Feline Care Coordinator