Harlequin - why we Microchip our cats.

Harlequin came from the Peninsula Humane Society as a 12 week old feral kitten in July of 2005. We neutered him, notched his ear and sent him up to a feral colony so he'd have a some space to be feral. He moved into the house of the colony's caretaker in the winter of 2006 and decided that petting was okay. Soon he was downright outgoing and affectionate. He loved attention, scratches, tummy rubs and snuggles, but still startled easily. Amazingly, Harlequin seemed quite content to be indoor only and showed no interested in going outside again. Harlequin, now an adoptable kitty, came back to the Nine Lives Foundation in November of 2006 to search for his own forever home. While he remained in foster care, he became one of the most amazing feline companions his foster family had ever met. From his goofy little chirps to his silly little circular dance when begging for pets.

We thought we'd found the perfect home for him when Harlequin was adopted out on April 12, 2007 to a couple from Pleasanton. They seemed very nice and it seemed like a perfect match, which makes the rest of the story so much more tragic and hard to understand.

On Friday, January 11, 2008 we received a call from the Washoe County Regional Animal Services in Reno, Nevada. They had gotten in a black and white cat on January 8th as a stray surrender that had a microchip they were able to trace back to us as Harlequin. He was very sick and they wanted to track down his owner so they could stop him from being PTS when his stray hold was up on January 14, 2008. While we called his "owners" and left messages on their voicemail and email, with no response, we pulled him immediately with the help of some gracious volunteers who lived in the Reno Area. They described his condition as deplorable. He had a nasty Upper Respiratory Infection, severe gingivitis and looked, "starved, beat up, scared and desperately in need of a bath." We can only guess how long he had been living on the frozen winter streets of Reno, but we hope it was not long. A week after being contacted by the Reno shelter, our volunteers had helped us to transport Harlequin home and back into foster care with his original foster family for rehabilitation.
While we wish we could find out what happened to him and discover how an indoor only cat from Pleasanton ended up homeless, walking the streets of Reno, we've come to terms with the fact that we'll never know. We're just so happy to have him home and safe.

We have high hopes that Harlequin will return to the wonderful, affectionate boy that we knew before he left us in April. We are not anxious to place him again, but would love for him to find a loving home where he will be safe and cared for as he so desperately deserves. We're pleased to hear his inquisitive chirps and see him running to us for lap time and petting. We're hoping that one day soon he'll allow us to pick him up again without fear.
Written by: LH

29 cats rescued from Lake County Animal Shelter

Tina and I, made the 3.5 hour drive up to Lake County this morning to pull some kitties from their overcrowded shelter. We had a limit of how many we were to take, but that went out the door when we saw all of these wonderful kitties who were due to die today. Today they had 21 cats scheduled to be PTS mostly orange tabbies, calico's and Siamese kitties. Last night, when we heard, we begged them to hold off putting any to sleep until we could get there at noon.

An elderly lake county woman recently died who had had fifty plus cats in her care, well actually in a garage. I'm sure to begin with, she had a plan to help the cats, she got many spayed and neutered and somehow things went very wrong over time. While once the cats got altered, soon there were kittens being born. What probably seemed like a temporary shelter, the garage became their permanent home. Care of the cats suffered too as some got sick and weren't able to get the medical care, they needed or maybe the number of cats made them keep passing colds around. Whatever happened is hard to say except to say that it all got very out of control for the lady who had them. As of a week ago, 29 of these fifty plus cats came into the very small, underfunded, Lake County Shelter. This number of cats needing help really strained the resources of the shelter.

It was a rainy day and there was even some snow on the mountain highway 175 on our way to and from Lake County but that didn't stop us from our mission. We had permission to pull 10 cats, up from the original 5 cats we'd discussed pulling but it only took a few moments of being in that damp, loud and overcrowded shelter for us to call and discuss pulling more. In the end we were told to "pull as many as we could fit in our car." It's amazing how many cats you can fit in a CRV when you have the motivation to try. We left the Lake County Shelter at 2pm today with 29 amazingly sweet and adoptable cats and kittens. The return drive home had more snow, so we took it slowly.After the 3.5 hour return drive it took nearly another hour to tuck the cats and kittens from Lake County into their cages and beds at the Nine Lives Foundation. We found the softest, warmest beds we could and set them each up with heaping bowls of wet food. The sight of some of these cats gulping down the first wet food they'd ever seen was enough to bring tears to our eyes. Once each of the cats and kittens were eating from their big bowls of food and their little feet were making "biscuits." We began to go through and treat each with Revolution for the fleas and ear mites that nearly all of them had.

Finally, names were given to each and every one of these deserving cats and kittens and their photos taken (We will take better photos when they've settled in). The best part of the day was knowing that these cats and kittens that at the beginning of the day had no hope, now have nothing but happy days and loving forever homes to look forward to. Our 29 new residents are below, please let us know if you're interested in giving any of these wonderful kitties a chance at a happily ever after.

Antony, a gregarious and playful 2 year old orange tabby and white tuxedo boy.

Bunsen and Petri are adorable 8 week old litter mates. They also came from the hoarder and are recovering from a URI and ear mites. Bunsen is a handsome Flame Point Siamese boy,While Petri is a very pretty Calico tuxedo girl. Cagney is a handsome, neutered, Senior Maine Coon boy. Cairo is a stunningly handsome, 3 year old, Chocolate Point Siamese boy. Laid back and friendly, he would be a great addition to any home. Curacao is a very handsome, 5-6 month old, Lilac Point Siamese boy. Diamond is the momma to Ruby and a funny little girl with a silly looking overbite. One of the most obvious cases of neglect that we saw in the cats rescued from the hoarder, Diamond and Ruby will need a lot of TLC before they are 100% recovered.
Julep is a pretty, soft and cuddly little 4.5 month old calico girl and sister to Martini and Rossi.

Kimmie is a very pretty and playful young black and white tuxedo girl.
Licorice is a darling, DMH all black, 5-6 month old boy.
Lemur is a scrawny little 9 week old girl who was adopted out but returned for having diarrhea.
Lita, a 5-6 month old Chocolate Point Siamese love bug of a girl.
Marshall is one of the 4 orange tabby boys pulled from the hoarder. And while he seems less than enthused around other cats, he's quite the lover of people. Melina, a 1 year old grey tabby and white girl.
Miriam, a darling black and white, Polydactyl tuxedo girl. Another of the kitties from the hoarder. She's being treated for her ear mites and malnutrition.
Opie, a 2-3 year old orange tabby boy. Very sweet and fond of his buddy Antony.
Orion is a very handsome and outgoing buff tabby boy.
Pansy was another one of the refugees of the Hoarder. With ringworm, ear mites a long term lack of adequate food she has a long way to go before she'll be 100% again.
Piggy is a darling, Snowshoe mix boy. Probably once very handsome, Piggy has had a tough life and it shows. He's several years old, but still intact and has clearly had ear mites for a very long time. His ears are malformed from years old healed injuries caused by him scratching them until they bled. He's currently got a giant scab behind his right ear from the most recent irritation. We've treated him for ear mites and are hopeful that he'll open up once he's no longer suffering.
Poesy and her buddy Pansy were both refugees of the Hoarder as well. Both have ringworm, ear mites and were near starved, even after more than a week in the Lake County Shelter, where their slim budget was not capable of taking care of so many ill kitties all at once.
Rossi, the boy on the left and Martini, the girl on the right, came in with their sister Julep. All very sweet but they were very overwhelmed in the loud, dog bark echoing, Lake County Shelter. Ruby, one of the more ill cared for of the hoarder's girl kitties. She came in with her momma Diamond. Both were half starved and covered in scabs and ear mites. Stacey, a pretty petite black and white Tuxedo girl.
Theodore, a brown tabby lover boy, who was on hold for biting a person who tried to get between him and the dog he was fighting with. We think he's be amazing in a non-dog home. He loves to give head butts and to get tummy rubs. He's the least aggressive kittie I've yet to meet.
Waldo, a stunning and friendly orange tabby, Manx boy.
Webster, a handsome DMH orange tabby boy. He's a little shy but purrs like crazy once you start petting him.
Willow, a pretty young calico girl. She loves to chat at you and rub against the bars of her cage.
Can you believe we forgot to mention Jacqueline? Jacqueline is a beautiful and very talkative (I mean really, she loves to talk! Maybe she's part Siamese.) one year old dilute torti girl.

That means we pulled 29 cats, not 28!

Written by: LH

Adoptions for 1-17/08 to 1/19/08

We had 7 adoptions on Saturday, Including Penelope and Gabrial who I don't have handy photos of and the rest of the kitties below.
Evie who came to us as a feral with her mom and sister (who still need some more socializing).
Teddy an awesome boy who came to us on 1/11/08 from Los Banos.
Leslie a wonderfully sweet girl who came to us from Tehama County AS on 10/25/07
Mixer who came to us from Fremont AS on 1/12/08, Mac and Cheese arrivals from Cat house on the Kings on 1/13/08. We knew these two cuties wouldn't last long at all.
And on Thursday Isis, a very long term foster girl from Tehama County AS, went out on a trial adoption. Fingers crossed, this will be her happily ever after.

Written by: LH

2008 adoptions so far...

Would you be suprised to hear that we've adopted out 22 cats so far this month? I was! But look for yourself. We were stuned that folks would drive from all over the Bay Area to adopt from us, but they do. We've had adoptions from as far north as Santa Rosa and as far south as Morgan Hill.
Blender's Mom says he was well worth the drive up from Morgan Hill!
Looking at this face, wouldn't you?
Written by: LH

Charlie and Willy - a success story!


I can’t believe that we’ve had our two kittens for over a month now, but seeing as we got them from you just before Thanksgiving, it’s got to be true! We adopted Trixie’s two remaining kittens, whom you had called Charlie and Rusty. (We’ve kept the name Charlie, but renamed the orange one Willy.) They have been absolutely wonderful, and have gotten along famously with the 6 month-old whom we already had.

I’m attaching a photo taken a few weeks ago. Feel free to post it on your website if you’d like. Thanks again for the wonderful new members of our family!



An intact male, black and white tuxedo was found in the bushes of a client's driveway in Oakland on 12/22/07, starved and injured. Assuming the very friendly cat, who was wearing a harness and torn leash, had been hit by a car they wanted to ensure that he would recover. Anne and Jenn, who found him, called Animal Control who would not come and pick him up as it was a Saturday. They were told to call the Police Department to come down and "take care of him."

Anne and Jenn, nixed that idea and instead called us to see if Dr. Thompson could help. Within two hours the kitty now named "Penny" for the street he was found on, was in at Nine Lives for treatment. He had not been hit by a car. Our best guess based on his wounds and the signs of old wounds was that Penny had been tortured. We suspect he'd been starved and had scalding liquid of some kind poured on him while he was tied to something with his leash.

Below are some photos taken within minutes of his arrival. Clearly these injuries had happened several days before he was found as the wounds are beginning to heal. I've reduced the size of the images to minimize the gore. Needless to say, it was a horrific sight to see. Dr. Thompson spent nearly an hour debriding his wounds and cleaning Penny up.
Two weeks later Penny is an entirely new cat. He's gained nearly 3lbs and is quickly becoming a very handsome kitty. His injuries are healing and despite his shaved look, he's quite a looker. Penny purrs the moment you open his cage, especially if you come bearing food. ;) Penny is proof once again, that animals are amazingly resilient creatures. After all he's been through he still trusts humans to care for and love him. We promise, we won't let him down. He's got nothing but good things to look forward to. He's one penny who deserves some good luck.

Tragic news for Penny.

Penny was doing very well until Wednesday of last week when he developed unusual facial swelling similar to anaphylactic shock. He stopped eating and took a turn for the worse. Dr. T treated and monitored him and took him home each night but at 3am on Friday morning he went into cardiac arrest and was not able to be resuscitated. It's possible, although the necropsy was inconclusive, that he went into septic shock from the burns. We'll never know for sure what happened. We're focusing instead on the fact that he was warm, had food and love and wasn't afraid when he left us.

Rest in Peace sweet boy.

Written by: LH

Magic & Mathew

A success story from our early days.

We got Magic & Mathew in May of 05, what wonderful little "Grey Guys" they are!
I guess it was Magic that was the start of 9 Lives, Monica saved him as a kitten...but had to amputated his right hind leg, something that has not slowed him down a bit! he runs the house that includes 2 dogs (200# between them). We needed to get Mathew some minor medical attention, so a call to Palo Alto to see Dr. Monica, who was VERY pleased to see them both.

Miriam & Guy....& Magic, Mathew, Maxwell & Spooner too!