A cat without eyes? Tyler was born that way. He was a stray – but that’s a tough life for somebody without sight! So he came to Best Friends’ Guardian Angel program, where folks are going to help him learn to live his life, just the way he is – but with any luck, as part of a family someday. Tyler also has feline leukemia, but so far, that hasn’t hurt his healthy any. He’s about 18 months old, and alert. There’s no doubt that he wants to live. He just needs a little help! The first order of business will be teaching him how to explore outside of his cage, and even how to make cat friends with other house cats. He’s shy because of his challenges. But with Guardian Angels encouraging him from his shell, he could well be on his way to becoming a loving pet!
Progress Journal

Sibling rivalry

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
A letter from Beckie:


Tyler, the cutest little boy in all the land, asked me to wish everyone a happy June bug. I think he's a bit mixed up because we sang happy birthday to him on June 6 for his fifth birthday, and now he is so happy chasing June bugs. This is definitely his favorite time of year. Every time I turn around, I find another unfortunate June bug somewhere in the house. He spends so much time chasing them, leaping and twisting, that when he finally comes in for the night, he crashes and sleeps like a log. We also celebrated the third anniversary of Tyler's "gotcha day" on July 5. How fortunate we are!

071713Tyler_VE3The biggest news of this past year is the developments with Serena, the cat I adopted hoping that she might befriend Tyler. First of all, she is all white, and when I happened to find out that Selena is the Greek goddess of the moon, I changed the "r" to an "l" and renamed her Selena. She definitely thinks she is a goddess! Her foster mother had told me how much Selena loved other cats, so it came as a distinct shock to find out that she hates other cats! I have waaaaaay too much respect for foster parents to think that Selena's foster mother deliberately misled me. She based her opinion on something, whatever that might have been, and sometimes I think people unwittingly see what they want to see. 

The worst part of the disaster is that Selena especially hates Tyler! She picked on him mercilessly. Every time they crossed paths, Selena chased him under my bed, where he hissed and growled, and she sat next to it with her tail twitching, daring him to come out. I tried every trick I could find from every source, including Best Friends, to change her behavior, but none of them worked. The ones that startled Selena, like a squirt gun or rattling coins in a can, also scared Tyler, so they made things worse. 

For the first two months, I kept Selena in a bedroom while I was at work and also overnight. It became obvious that she really loved having her own one-bedroom castle. She was pretty stressed to be among the other cats as well, partly because Grayson kept trying to play with her by racing after her at top speed, which drove her under my bed. So in the end, she stays by herself and is happy as a clam. I spend an hour with her before and after work, and for the last few months, I have let her out of the bedroom in the evenings when I am home. Among other things, that gives her a chance to enjoy the "catio." There is still some chasing that goes on, but it is definitely not the rodeo that it used to be. Selena is actually quite a cutie. She purrs like crazy when I spend time with her and brush her. People who suggested that I give her back to the shelter or adopt her out to someone on Craigslist (as if!) don't know me. I wouldn't give up any of my kids. I adopt them for the rest of their lives or until they kill me, whichever comes first.

071713Tyler_VE2Tyler, meanwhile, has come along nicely and is a happy little boy once again. I have never seen a being, human or animal, with so much determination. He relentlessly tried to snuggle with Ginger Boy and Grayson despite the inevitable bopping that he would get. He finally wore them down, and they begrudgingly let him squeeze in next to them, for a while at least (see the picture of the pile o' cats, where it's hard to see where Ginger Boy ends and Tyler begins). At the same time, he has learned to be satisfied, sometimes stretching out next to them or sleeping in an adjoining bed. I have included a photo I took of the three boys, with Tyler in the middle, preparing for another arduous, exhausting day as I raced around getting ready to go to work. Bunch of slackers. 

Tyler also continues to think that my stepping into my dressing room is an invitation to him to get a massage. It is so cute to see him in the mirror, silently materializing behind me, wrapping his tail around his feet and patiently waiting as I change clothes or brush my teeth. He knows it won't be long before I sit down on the floor with my legs stretched out in front of me so that he can lie down next to me and get a stimulating two-handed treatment. On a good day, he can get as many as four rubdowns. I can't turn him down, and he knows it.

The highlight of our year was a visit from Joni, one of Tyler's favorite caregivers from Best Friends. I was glad that she could see Tyler (and Grayson too) and personally report to their old friends at Calmar (where cats who have feline leukemia are housed) that they are doing well. I am incredibly thankful that Tyler has had three healthy and happy years here. On particularly good days, he will stroll around singing a stirring aria with lots of multi-syllable lyrics and many key changes. I like to think he realizes how fortunate he is and it fills him with joy.

Happy June bug!

Beckie, Tyler, Ginger Boy, Grayson and Selena