This is my cat Jerry who died 1/2/12 of cancer. I had him a little less than 2 years, Jerry was about 18 or 19 when he died. He came from the ACCT (Animal Care and Control) In Philadelphia. He was at the shelter and going to be put to sleep, as he was very senior and quickly became very ill with severe pneumonia. Along with high blood sugar he was also very overweight and not very friendly.
One of the vet techs loved him and contacted me. I agreed to take him, she fostered him for about a month to get him over his illness, as he needed a lot of constant care, and I work long days. Jerry went through a lot and was doing fantastic. Dec 11, he was diagnosed with cancer and he died peacefully at the vet’s 1/2/12…I miss my pal a lot!
“I have been volunteering with rescue groups and wildlife rehab for many years. I grew up with cats, always had cats in my life. I was in the Army National Guard from 1980 to ’92 serving as an Infantry Recon Scout. I currently work for the City of Philadelphia at the airport as building maintenance supervisor.
I have been with Rescue Ink for a couple of years. I guess I’m the “cat guy”. I first met the guys went I heard about a rescue trip to Georgia that was put together by a mother’s and children’s rescue group from New Jersey (MOMS Rescue). Rescue Ink went to help out and I kind of showed up on my Harley. I rode about 1,000 miles to get there, mostly in the rain. I’ve been with Rescue Ink ever since. The guys say they rescued me from the streets of Philly after my wife left and I was pretty depressed. That made me “Alley Cat”.
I live with my eight rescued cats and help out a lot with rescue groups in Philly, including building and placing feral cat shelters around the city. I’m always doing something for animals, like investigating animal cruelty and abuse cases in my area that are reported to Rescue Ink. I still help out with some wildlife rehab — built some squirrel boxes recently, took an injured turtle to the hospital and moved a few off of the roads at my job. Through my Facebook page there have been animals adopted and fostered. There was even a lost dog in Florida that was reunited with his owner through my page.”
Above: (left) Al on his Swift Lucky Strike Bobber; (right) Assisting law enforcement and the SPCA on the scene of a cat hoarding situation.
“The tattoo on my back is my combat vehicle from when I was an Army Scout from 1980 to 1992. It has a dog and a cat as the gunners and “Abusers are Losers” on the side in red letters.”
“This one is from a trip to Canada, with Alley Cat, a maple leaf, and cat whiskers…”
Tattoo artist unknown.
“This is Hope. Hope was found on May 17, 2011 in a bank parking lot on a cool, rainy Tuesday morning. Hope was lying in a parking spot in a puddle. Bank employees were trying to make her get up and out of the space where she was lying. They did not realize she was too ill and near death to walk more than a few feet and collapse. I picked her up and took her to Kitty Cottage Adoption Center where she was dried and warmed, tested for FIV and FELK, given fluids, a bath, and more food. Hope was found to be missing many teeth, declawed, and weighing a little over 4 pounds. Hope should weigh about 8 to 10 pounds, she is a senior. The next morning Hope was taken to Veterinarian Dr. Opelski at Rothman Animal Hospital in NJ. Dr. Opelski felt she was very close to death when I picked her up from the pouring rain. The fluids she was given at Kitty Cottage saved her life. Hope also had a bad infection and high fever, she is also diabetic. The pads on Hope’s front paws were also badly damaged and burned, making it very difficult for her to walk. I gave her fluids twice a day for several days, started her on insulin and soaked her feet in Epsom salt baths till her feet healed, plus I gave her antibiotic shots and cream for her feet.
Now she has gained weight, eats great, plays with toys, and sleeps in her bed as I work on adjusting her insulin dosages to get her diabetes under control. Hope is very, very lucky to be alive.”
“Two more of my rescued cats, Tupelo and Jerry. Tupelo loves coconut popsicles. He is about 15. I adopted him in ’98. I adopted Jerry 1 1/2 years ago when he was near death at the shelter. He had pneumonia, was diabetic, and weighed 24 pounds. He is now 14 pounds and is doing great at 18 years old.”
“Tattoo of a cat sitting on top of a Harley emblem. She looks a lot like my Chloe RIP. Her tail is wrapped around the top of the “one”.
The other is commemorating the trip I did on my Harley to Georgia for the rescue where I met the guys from Rescue Ink. The tattoo shows my route from Pennsylvania to Georgia. Georgia has shelter bars through the state and a lock. Dangling on the lower left are keys to open the lock and free the animals.”
We’re pleased to announce a new series, Team Cattoo. This section will spotlight animal rescue groups and organizations that proudly wear their love of cats on their skin. To kick off the new section we have some incredible photos from the team at the San Francisco SPCA. These are some of the most dedicated animal rescuers in the country and they have one of the most impressive collections of cattoos ever. A big thanks to Daniel and the crew for submitting these awesome images and the stories behind the ink.
Photography by Rob Schroeder.
About the SF SPCA
Founded in 1868, the SF SPCA is a community-supported nonprofit dedicated to saving, protecting and caring for cats and dogs.
We do this through immediate care of animals that are homeless, ill or in need of an advocate, but we also work to educate the community, reduce the number of unwanted kittens and puppies through spaying/neutering, and improve the quality of life for animals and their companions.
Simply put: the SF SPCA cares. We care for the abused or abandoned dog, for feral cats fending for themselves, and for animals in pain and requiring treatment. The care that we and our community of supporters provide makes the difference between neglect and nurturing, hurting and health, loneliness and a loving home.
Our programs and services include:
The new Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center, which houses our Veterinary Hospital, Spay/Neuter Clinic, Feral Cat Assistance Program, Foster Care Program, and Shelter Medicine Department.
“I’ve been fascinated with cat behavior my whole life, which ultimately led to my career at the SFSPCA for 10 years now. Knowing that no two cats are alike in their personality made me realize that what’s under the surface can be a rewarding surprise if you take the time to understand what lies beneath. Every cat can be both an angel and a mischievous little devil. My tattoos represent both sides of the feline ying yang….and ok…maybe they say a little bit about me as well. I’m always trying to find balance between compassion and the demons that test it each day. Thankfully, cats are amazing stress relievers, even if saving their lives is what creates the stress to begin with.” Tattoo artist: Tim Lehi of Black Heart Tattoo, San Francisco
Ashley James | Client Care Associate (Adoptions)
“The tattoo on my forearm is a drawing by my favorite artist Aubrey Beardsley. I always wanted one of his pieces tattooed on me and this one just seemed perfect. My current cat’s name is Beardsley, after the artist.” Tattoo artist: PJ at Triangle Tattoo and Museum in Fort Bragg, CA
“I got the tattoo on my foot about six months after adopting Badge. (She became my best friend pretty quick). We moved to San Francisco about a year later, when she was diagnosed with chronic asthma. The vet said it was the worst case she had ever seen. Despite her breathing problems she was a little ball of sunshine. The sassiest and sweetest cat I have ever known. She was my first cat as an adult, and was with me through a lot of “growing up”. I miss her dearly and I think about her every day. I have met hundreds of cats since, and have yet to meet a cat like her.” Tattoo artist: Cris Cleen of Idle Hand Tattoo, San Francisco
Amber Holly | Spay Neuter RVT
“Before I worked in companion animal rescue, I focused on exotic cat rescue. While working in Spokane, Washington, I became very fond of the big purring mountain lions that had been rescued from private homes and drug rings that were using them as home protection. I became especially close to a large pair of males and a young cub. The cubs are born beautifully spotted with huge round blue eyes. As I moved on to small animal rescue, it became clear that neonatal kittens is my natural calling. My tattoo represents my love for the big pumas and my passion for raising “cubs”. A mother mountain lion and her cub.” Tattoo artist: Derrick Snodgrass at Temple Tattoo, Oakland, CA
Sarah Ramm | Veterinary Technician Supervisor/Hospital
“Inspiration for tattoo was Chrissie, a feral kitten that came into my life after finding her on the side of the road after being hit by a car. She was named for my best friend, Chris, who found her and brought her to my house because she knew we would take care of her. Chrissie was sweet (to me, anyway), agoraphobic, and frankly a little “not right in the head.” I let her go after 17 years together when she was no longer responding to treatment for chronic renal failure.” Tattoo artist: Jill Bonny when she was at Sacred Rose Tattoo in San Francisco
Laura Gretch | Community Cares Initiative Manager
“Toby was a skinny white dude hanging out at the shelter, screaming his head off. Love at first yelp!
For years to follow, Tobes sat on the couch, awaiting my arrival home, happy to sniff out whoever I was cheating on him with. He coddled feral kittens into tameness, he showed foster dogs who was boss, and taught them a valuable lesson about honoring thy hissy feline. He pawed my arm when I bawled my eyes out the day I first euthanized an animal.
When Tobes finally gave in to years of heart disease, liver failure and asthma, I knew I had to memorialize him as best I could.
He makes a great ice breaker at the shelter. I mean – if you’re not going to trust that gal that’s committed half her arm to her dead cat, who are you going to trust to tell you why your dog needs to be neutered or that cat, not that one, is the right match for you?
Cat. Friend. Samurai warrior. I miss ya Tobes – every day of my life.”
“You know that saying – We can never move forward without remembering the past?
In April of 1999, I quietly acknowledged a memory none of us want to remember.
After just a few years of working full time in an animal shelter, I sat in the room at the end of the hall and euthanized 10 cats. Our shelter had been hit hard with pan leukapenia, and everyone was pulling their weight that day. My co-workers and I all took a turn sitting in that room, holding cats we had recently named, dewormed, set up in a cage and played with, on our lap, and said goodbye. Those were the days that shelters cleared out when disease hit. And a lot of shelters, all over the country, still do. I’m thankful I work in an environment that is blessed to not have to send anyone to a room down the hall and play God with so many lives. But there is a constant reminder, etched in the back of my neck, that not everyone is this lucky, and our job will never be done until everyone is.”