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East Bay SPCA Home
The East Bay SPCA saves 
     and improves the lives of cats and dogs and connects
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Welcome to Shelter Life at the East Bay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

We began as the Oakland SPCA in 1874. Today, the East Bay SPCA includes two animal shelters and three clinics in our community.

This is our day.

Friday, June 24, 2005

It's A Cat, It's A Plane, It's...Talia!

Talia, one of my favorite shelter cats, found a home this week after about a year. TeeTee wasn't just a shelter cat, she was the shelter cat. She was actually employed in the role of Shelter Cat, a position that required her to meet strange dogs so that we could gauge their reactions to cats. She wasn't stressed by dog introductions, and a dog's reaction to cats is important information to pass on to potential dog adopters.

In return for providing this valuable service, she had the run of the back of the shelter and caught the occasional mouse. She also had the staff who work in the back area (like me) to lavish her with attention. In her online description, we posted the photo shown here and it captured her reputation, a real superhero to her shelter family. My coworker jokingly wrote that she had implemented important shelter programs like the "Share Your Lunch With A Cat" Project (she once tried to snatch part of a burrito out of my hands) and the "Pet A Kitty Now" Stress Relief Program, both very innovative and ahead of their time.

She was well beloved by the staff and became my weekday "daytime cat" (while my cat at home was my "evening cat.") She spent most days curled up on my lap as I worked or she'd sit behind me on my chair leaving me to perch delicately on the edge. She was a very large kitty-- nearly 15 lbs, so she took up a fair portion of the chair, but I always let her have it.

We ended up retiring Talia after she had her first ever stressful encounter with a dog when our blind Sharpei tried to nibble at her. We decided it was time for her to go up for adoption and find a real home with no dog meetings required.

We now have a new shelter cat named Tigger who is way more active, meows incessently and rather than curling up with me, mainly tries to eat my papers, step on my keyboard while I'm typing and contribute to my phone conversations. He is inquisitive to the point of ridiculousness sometimes-- he often sports a pink streak on his forehead from getting too close to an uncapped red marker.

He's wonderful, too, of course, in a very different way but still I miss having Talia curled up quietly behind me purring melifluously, looking calm and relaxed even during the most stressful of days. Although nothing can ever take her place, a coworker presented me with an overweight black and white stuffed cat when Talia first left my chair in the back of the shelter for the adoption center up front. Stuffed Talia sits on my desk as a fond momento of the real thing. Good luck in your new home, TeeTee, and you'll always have a spot on my desk!

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