Review my cat book

CatMom1994

Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2017
I finally started writing a document for my new book, The Danger Zone: Outside Your Walls. There obviously are some things I need to improve on but the way Mom is, I don't want her to help me with it. What do you think of this draft?

Note: The text alignment is justified on my computer.

Foreword


In early 2002, I was not thinking about adopting another cat. I already had two feline friends at home: Emily, an 8-year old black and white tuxedo, and Patricia, a 5-year old brown and white classic tabby, who were my family's first two cats. My dad had to talk Mom into allowing me to have a kitten, then another one two years later. I had no reason to add a third cat to the family at the time - or so I thought.


In April that year, my sister Anne said she and her friend, Jane Harris, had a high school class assignment for National Volunteer Week: volunteer at the organization of their choice for five hours. Being cat lovers, the girls chose Citizens for Humane Action, a 501(c)3 low-kill shelter for cats and dogs. My mom asked me if I want to tag along and volunteer with them. I told her yes, not expecting to fall in love with one of the cats.


So Mom filled out two volunteer applications and took Anne and me to the CHA orientation meeting. At the meeting I learned some cats and dogs they receive are euthanized for various reasons, including fatal diseases. The speaker also said CHA has a foster home program, but I had no idea it would actually help me to know that.


We all went to CHA on Thursday, April 25 - the first of three days, because we had scheduled two-hour shifts on Thursday and Friday and a one-hour shift on Saturday to fit in five hours. Anne and I had been to CHA before; it was one of the places we looked for our first kitten at. We were there to clean cages, feed the animals, and scoop litter.


The shelter was not a big building, but the back of an old two-story house that often needed repairs. The small lobby had a teacher's desk and two chairs. It did not have space for extra seating. At busy times, this area was a bottleneck when people were going in and out through a single open doorway. Big dog cages were in two rooms downstairs and outside, where dogs had no grass to play on. A closed door in one dog room hid the stairs to three rooms for cats, which made up the entire second floor.


When my mom dropped the three of us off at CHA, we met a volunteer who was expecting us in the lobby. We were told to clean the dog cages first, then take care of the cats upstairs.


Upon reaching the top of the stairs, we all turned left. The next room was very small, with only eight wire cages, two cabinets, and a sink. It was for some of the cats who were ineligible for adoption. In the top left cage, which was too small and hard to open, was a male gray and white tabby shorthair cat with a bulky frame, green eyes, and rough fur. His name was Wilbur.


Because of the floor plan, we had to walk through this small room to access a bigger room for cats waiting for their intake veterinary checkups. After caring for those cats, we backtracked to take care of Wilbur and seven other adorable felines in the smaller room. We were told to use a lot of Purell sanitizer after touching Wilbur because of a scary note attached to his cage door: He had tested positive for feline leukemia, a fatal and contagious viral disease.


Immediately I was more attracted to Wilbur than any other cat. I assumed because of the note he did not get much attention from volunteers. That was certainly true for Anne and Jane, who ignored Wilbur the whole time they were caring for other cats.
After helping Anne and Jane clean cages, scoop litter, and give the cats food, water, and toys, I struggled to open Wilbur's cage agan and asked the other volunteer for assistance. Pulling a cat out of his cage is one thing; what happened next was almost like a romance movie.


I held Wilbur in my arms - right hand around his torso, left hand under his butt. Wilbur put both front paws on my chest. After petting Wilbur in that position for a minute I lifted him a little higher. He purred in my right ear and licked it. That could only mean one thing: Wilbur wanted to be my cat.


The next two days were more of the same for me, Anne, and Jane at CHA. On the third day - Saturday, April 27 - Wilbur licked my left cheek as I held him. After putting him back in his cage, I read Wilbur's information card: Arrived April 7, saw vet on April 8, born in 1997, not neutered. I asked him, "Do you want to adopt me?" I wished I had the cat carrier and $50, the adoption fee for adult cats, despite Wilbur's medical information.


I had a hunch Wilbur's positive FLV test was inaccurate. No words can describe why I thought he probably had a false positive test based on his apparent lack of symptoms over three days (really less than a cumulative hour). I researched the causes, symptoms, diagnostic tests, and prognoses of FLV and how the virus spreads from cat to cat. A key piece of information for me is the FLV test is only 80 percent accurate. Is it likely that Wilbur fell in the other 20 percent?


We will never know the answer to that question because the feline leukemia virus is dormant - carried by the host without causing symptoms - for a long time and sometimes it leaves a host cat's body within 8 weeks. For this reason, the FLV test (called ELISA) can't be repeated until eight weeks after the first if there is any reason to suspect an incorrect result.


Another CHA volunteer, Linda Lemmel, only adopts and fosters FLV+ cats to prevent the virus from spreading. She took Wilbur home to foster him while waiting for a negative test result.


Linda got the good news I expected: Wilbur was FLV negative. This meant he needed it again for a tiebreaker. Unfortunately everyone had to wait 60 days for that to happen. So I continued to hold out hope Wilbur would join my family while Linda was frustrated by how long it takes to get a third test despite having a dozen cats. She knew only one person wanted him.


During this time I learned Wilbur was a stray who got all food and water from CHA's manager, Jennifer Moore, throughout the winter. CHA is in northeast Colulmbus Ohio - a state known for freezing temperatures, snow, and ice in the winter months. But Jennifer could not bring the gray and white tabby inside because she already had nine cats. On April 7, she finally trapped Wilbur for the lifesaving trip to the back of an old house.


Well, nobody thought it would save his life because of the positive ELISA test until I saw him. I never lost hope the third test would also be negative while waiting for it. In mid-September the highly-anticipated report came in: a second negative reading. Linda's vet began telling her he needed to be evacuated because there is no way to predict if or when one of her own cats would pass the virus to him.


I had to talk my mom into letting me adopt Wilbur but after talking to Linda on the phone about the situation, knowing how much I loved him, she agreed to do it. On Thursday, October 4, we met Linda and Wilbur at the shelter for the $50 transfer that would change his life forever.
 

CatMom1994

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Joined
Jul 23, 2017
Original Poster
Thank you. That document is exactly two pages long without a picture of him.
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
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[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]I made some minor[FONT=Arial, sans-serif] changes to reduce space sizes in the justified format[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]. That was [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]the h[FONT=Arial, sans-serif]ardest part. The second draft is final.[/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT]
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
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Now I seem to have a problem with hte book title. It comes directly from the song Dnager Zone by Kenny Loggins, which was a top hit from the movie Top Gun and played internationally during the 1990s. The thought is creative, but the words have been copyrighted for dacades.
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
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I found a 2008 news story about the kind of animal cruelty case I have been looking for. The only problem is the owenrs did not name their injured-killed cat. They just calling it "the cat." I want all cats in the book to be named. The picture is black and white, so I am not sure if it is a light gray or white cat. The owners did not say if it is male or female. Three cats were affected, so just "the cat" does not seem good enough inj his case. I don't want to invade their privacy by asking them for cat's name and gender. The other thing is nobody returned a request for information about charges and citations, so I can't find out how it ended.
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
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Thank you Furballs! That was the easy part. Now I am focvusing on a piece of graphic content that you do not want to watch.
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
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Update: The animal cruelty chapter will literally be the hardest one because so little information is available. So I changed gears and decided to spend all month reading about toxins, starting with plants. Stay tuned.
 

cluckmecoop7

Blue Boy - My new betta
Joined
Jan 13, 2018
Location
USA
CatMom, I love that story, and I'm so glad you adopted him! Thanks for sharing this.
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
Original Poster
Dog Force, I don't care what the New York Times writes. This book will never be known to that newspaper if I can help it.

I knew you would like it Yetidog. Wilbur was truly a miracle cat. This story is why I now believe God chooses our pets for us because there is no other logical explanation for what happened.
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
Original Poster
It looks like everyone agrees Wilbur's story is a purrfect way to start the book. I got the idea because it is about turning an outside cat into an inside cat.
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
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Now I have to make a big decision: Should I tell my family about it? I don't want Mom to say anything critical or think she needs to help me.
 

Esme

New member
Joined
Mar 27, 2015
Location
PA USA
I would tell my family...it's something to be proud of and such a great accomplishment!
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
Original Poster
Thanks for your input Esme. I will definitely be proudo f myself for all 200+ pages. It is just that "Will Mom criticize anything?" worry in the back of my head that makes me think I should wait until Chapter 15 is complete.
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
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My problem is often her attempt at constructive criticism becomes destrutive when I think she is just nitpicking. I am 41 and don't need a parent telling me how to write about feline overpopulation, lily ingestion, cats stuck in trees, etc.
 

Alpha1

Pack Leader and Lover
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Location
USA
Well, if she really has a tendency to nitpick for no reason, then of course, don't tell her anything. But, if you just think she's nitpicking, you may want to be more open-minded in accepting her suggestions. You just have to do what feels best for you, I don't think age is a factor. Thinking back, your mother is not really a cat person, so maybe she has little to offer, I don't know.
 

CatMom1994

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Jul 23, 2017
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The age factor is about self-respect. Most people in their forties are not treated like kids, even if they live with their parents. I would think Mother's Day is a good time to tell the adults in my family, but two 6-year old kids will also be at the holiday brunch. Hopefully I can say something when the kids are playing far away from the table.
 


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