Mewsings Blog - fostering

September 4, 2017

Can you provide a foster home for a rescue cat (or dog)?  Many were displaced by the flooding of Hurricane Harvey.  They need homes until they are adopted.  If you can provide a foster home, please fill out a foster application.

Please print, fill out, and scan (or take pictures of each page) and return to us, by email to  Feel free to cut & paste from the application into an email or document editor (such as Microsoft Word or Apple Pages), if that makes it easier to fill out.

Hurricane Harvey

If you can't foster, please donate for the Hurricane Harvey kittens.  For other ways to give, see our Donate pageThank you, and thanks for all you do for animals.



June 24, 2015

kittensNevermind the rain, the sanctuary is flooded with kittens this season! Just last week, we vaccinated nearly two dozen kittens at Thundering Paws!

Thank goodness for all the volunteers who have been willing to foster these cuties while we search for their forever homes.

Please have a look on our adoption page for adoptable kittens, or click on the links below. Note that we still need to post bios on many of them and that there are more kittens to come!

adopt, cats, fostering

March 26, 2015

Isn't it time that Austin joined the ranks of other progressive cities with its own cat cafe?

Blue Cat Cafe wants to make it happen, and they are near the halfway point on their Kickstarter campaign.

Cafe + Adoptable Cats = WIN WIN

The Blue Cat Cafe team believe that true “cat haters” are few and far between and that the bottleneck to putting homeless kittens in loving homes is simply more “face-to-whisker” time. Numerous organizations in Austin like Thundering Paws exist to provide shelter to abandoned kittens. The Blue Cat Cafe aims to foster those cats at the cafe itself, and be an aid to the rescues in adoption!

Please consider donating to their  Kickstarter campaign and attending one of their local fundraising and awareness events. The next one will be this weekend!

Austin Kitty Limits


March 29, 2015: Austin Kitty Limits

Stompin Grounds
3801 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704

5:00 - 10:00 PM:  Live music every hour with the following lineup

  • 5-8 PM Live adorable kittens dressed up as punks for pictures and petting
  • 5-6 Free Kittens & Bread
  • 6-6:30 Modern Day Midas
  • 6:30-7 Poppy Fields
  • 7-8 Pickles
  • 8-9 Sweepstakes
  • 9-10 Noiserock Treehouse
events, fostering, fundraising

August 18, 2014

Have you ever considered becoming a foster parent to an animal in need? If so, Thundering Paws would love to talk with you. Foster parents enable us to save more pets, and allow an animal to live in a home environment while it awaits adoption by its forever family.

As a foster parent, you will learn the animal’s personality and help Thundering Paws find a family that is a good match for the pet. You can trust that our experienced Adoption Coordinators will screen the applicant to make sure your foster pet goes to a safe loving home.

There are many things to consider before making the commitment to fostering. Click here for more information including a list of important questions to ask yourself.

As a foster parent, you provide food, water, shelter and, most of all, lots of love. Thundering Paws provides vet care, medications and support. If you are interested in volunteering as a foster parent please contact Alison at or 512-627-3395. You’ll find it to be a very fun and rewarding experience.


September 2, 2012

Lisa and Fiona Siciliani were sidelined along a ditch when they discovered a litter of seven (!) mewling kittens and their starved-but-friendly mother. They gamely took up the mom and kittens, naming the mom Millie and the kittens after Ewoks!

The Siciliani family run Angeli Carriages - providing impeccably beautiful horse-drawn carriages in Austin for weddings, tours, parties, and other special events. They are not only graciously fostering the kittens but are also generously donating a gift certificate for a ride in one of their carriages at our Silent Auction at Newk's next week on September 8!

Millie and her beautiful blue-gray kittens are all adoptable. We dare you to watch this YouTube video and not want to take one (or two! or three!) home with you:


adopt, fostering

January 29, 2007

We currently have a number of animals in need of good foster homes.

Boat kittens
Two of the boat kittens

The six boat kittens--Raul, Raya, Solange, Solace, Victor, and Isabel, need a new place to stay. These are all friendly outgoing tabby kittens, about 5 months old, cute as can be. And you don't have to take them all! Fostering even one or two would be a great help.

Willow, Daniel

We also have two very shy kitties--Willow and Daniel. Willow and Daniel were rescued as feral kittens and tamed, but they could use additional socialization in a home environment to help them become more confident and outgoing. It takes a little effort to get to know these kitties, but once they trust you they are very affectionate. They could be placed together or separately.


Then there's Fabio, the sweetest, friendliest big hunk of cat ever. Fabio is FIV+, and for this reason he can't be out interacting with all the other cats at the shelter, so he has to spend most of his time in a large cage. A foster home where he could be out and about would make such a difference for him.

Sweet Pea

And Sweet Pea, a good dog who just needs a consistent environment with someone who knows how to communicate with dogs. She loves people but doesn't get along well with other animals, so she needs a foster home where she can be the only pet. She is crate trained, and will bring her crate with her.

Thundering Paws provides the supplies you need and covers veterinary expenses for the fostered pet. You provide lots of love, and you'll receive lots of love in return.

Contact us for more information.

fostering, volunteers

January 21, 2007

Since the last update, China kitty has continued to make incredible progress in getting well and becoming more tame. She has not returned to eating canned food with her antibiotic mixed in, but she will gobble down as much dry food as I give her without ever seeming to get full. Without her teeth, she sort of inhales her dry food! As for her antibiotic (and a steroid she has to take for a while), she has become much more tolerant of my squirting it in her mouth, probably because it is mixed with salmon juice. She typically runs from me when I approach her at medication time (I guess she knows my body language) but is very compliant once I start to give it. She's also very forgiving and quickly resumes purring and talking after being medicated.

China, Jan 20th

Last night was another huge milestone in China's progress. Remember, this cat was feral only three weeks ago. At least she acted feral back then. Well, last night I thought I would see what would happen if I made a bed for myself on the floor of her room (there are no beds in there, and the tile floor is hard and cold!). I got a bunch of blankets and pillows, turned off the lights, lay down, and waited to see what would happen. It wasn't but a few minutes before she jumped down from her perch on top of the scratching post, burrowed into the blankets, and cuddled right up to me. Then, she rolled over on her side, braced herself against me with her legs, and started "making biscuits", all the while purring about as loud as a cat can purr. This went on for quite a while until I got to where I couldn't get comfortable in my makeshift bed on the floor. I went on to my own bed, and when I came to visit her first thing this morning, she was ready for more attention (but only after her food arrived and was eaten, of course).

China had a checkup this morning, and her vet was really pleased with how China's mouth has been healing. I told her how sweet China's disposition has become but China's feral nature came out during the exam. I told the vet I wish she could see China's new personality, but I would be surprised if China ever shows her friendly side at the vet. That's even rare for some kitties who have never been feral.

As you can see from today's photo of China, she is really filling out. I don't know how much weight she has gained, but I would estimate perhaps three pounds already.

Stay tuned for more China updates and photos!

fostering, happy tails

January 12, 2007

At Thundering Paws animal sanctuary, the opportunity to help improve the lives of our animals in big ways presents itself each and every day. You don't have to look for the opportunities; they almost come flying at you. Many sanctuary animals have been lost, abandoned, or given up for various reasons (sometimes not very good reasons). These animals often come to us hurt, or sick. This is where China the feral kitty comes in.

China Jan 1st
China on January 1st, 2007

China lived in a feral cat colony for the first six months or so of her life, and was trapped as part of the trap-neuter (or spay)-return program that has been so effective in helping to limit the explosion of newborn cats in the region. Anne Zabolio, Director of Thundering Paws, realized from previous observation that China seemed sickly and extremely thin, and the vet who spayed China confirmed that she was indeed unhealthy. She was diagnosed with lyphocytic plasmacytic stomatitis, a terrible disease that causes extremely painful inflammation in the mouths of affected cats. It is so painful for these kitties to eat that they can starve to death if not treated. Anne could not bear to place this ill kitty back in the wild, where she would not survive long, and where her last days would be full of suffering. So China took up residence at Thundering Paws, where she seemed to improve over time with medication but not to the extent we had hoped.

Recently, Anne and the Thundering Paws volunteers noticed that China was eating less than she should, and was looking poorer in spite of the medication she had been on for quite some time. We concluded that drastic measures were needed to keep China going. We have all loved this kitty from the first day she came to Thundering Paws, even though she has never been able to show affection toward us, due to her feral nature. I've always had a particular affection for feral kitties, and China won my heart the first day she arrived back in the spring.

I volunteered to take China to my vet (who seems to work miracles sometimes) to see if she could help. I also committed to letting China stay at my house for as long as she needs to during her recovery. The treatment for this condition often means having teeth removed, with a lot of followup medication.

On January 1st, 2007, China spent her first full day at my house. She settled into a comfy cage in a private room with her own cat bed, water, food, a toy mousie, and a litter box. She looked so thin and her fur was thin as well, but she still had the energy to give her usual hisses if she thought I was going to touch her. China has never been ferocious (unlike feral Roxie "the cobra"), but neither has she ever been what you might call friendly. I attempted to pet her the night she arrived at my house and she did tolerate it (sort of), although with a look on her face indicating "I'll let you do this just once!"

In spite of the painful condition in her mouth, she ate some canned food as well as some dry food. This was quite an improvement, to which I attributed the quietness of her private room away from a lot of people and other animals. Although most Thundering Paws kitties love having the other kitties and people around them, China never really did. The next day, China was eating even better, and seemed more tolerant of being petted. I found a very soft brush (the kind you can't seem to find in the stores any more), and while she was being brushed, I thought I heard a little bit of soft purring. I know I did. Yet shortly thereafter, China was hissing up a storm and cringing at the idea of being touched. I've seen the same thing with other feral kitties who really don't want to be feral. They can't seem to make up their minds sometimes.

Over the next few days, China's personality began changing dramatically. Each day, she allowed more petting and brushing, although she didn't purr again for a while. But several times, she rolled on her side and got a tummy rub! Each time I thought "this can't be happening." But it was. China also continued eating better and better, and she seemed to be looking not quite as thin. Her energy level increased so that she was not sleeping as much, and she began making eye contact with me. To top it off, she started giving me "love eyes." Every cat lover on the planet knows what that look is--when a kitty looks you in the eye, then slowly closes her eyes and, just as slowly, opens them again.

On Tuesday, January 2, China went to my vet, who concluded that she would need to be anesthetized so that they could do a thorough exam. My vet also indicated that China might need to have her teeth extracted; otherwise, she would probably not recover from the stomatitis. An appointment was scheduled for later in the week.

January 5th was China's big surgery. They did remove her teeth, except for her front four teeth. My vet told me that her mouth was in terrible condition--very inflamed and infected. She couldn't understand how China could have been eating anything at all.

The next day, China was doing fine. One would never know that one day earlier she had major surgery. She was eating even better, not only canned food, but also dry kibbles. She just swallowed her food without chewing. Another big milestone for China was that I opened the door to her cage, left it open for good, and started feeding her on the floor of her private room. Without hesitation, she began jumping down out of the cage to enjoy her "savory salmon." It didn't bother her for me to be in the room when she was out of the cage, either! Previously, she would only let me pet her if she was in the cage, but that changed quickly.

Later that same day it was clear that China had her best day ever. She was eating anything I put in front of her, rolling over for her tummy rubs, and, get this... she started purring very loudly when being petted. If humans could purr, well, you can imagine how I felt. I've told my friends at Thundering Paws that these are the kinds of things that make being born a great thing.

By January 8th I could really see China's weight gain. She even had a little belly on her. Her fur looked much better too, and I saw her grooming herself for the first time when I came in from the office in the evening. She hardly resembled the kitty from only a week ago!

But along with this great progress has come some bad news. My vet called me with a report on China. She said that China's blood test results came back indicating an "overwhelming" infection in her body, likely from the stomatitis. The blood sample was taken right before her surgery. The question in my mind is "why was China eating so well, even before she had her teeth extracted?" Fortunately, when China had the surgery last week, she received a powerful antibiotic, and has been on a daily round of antibiotic (Zithromax, to be specific). So I'm still optimistic that she will make a full comeback. For a fleeting moment at the vet's office I wasn't so sure, though. When I thanked the head vet for "saving another Thundering Paws kitty," he said "well, I don't know if we can, but we're trying." I think he may have been surprised that she had eaten well and had gained weight, considering the extent of the effects of the stomatitis.

By January 10th or so, China started raising her tail slightly for the first time to greet me. That's always a good sign, and a pretty amazing one for a feral cat! I found out, though, that she isn't ready to be picked up. I tried that same day and she had a hissy fit. But right after that she was being her sweet self again.

As of January 11th, China continues to improve and become more tame. She still needs to gain weight but I would bet she's put on a pound or maybe two in only one week. She reached a new milestone tonight when she played with streamers on the end of a rod. It was the first time I had ever seen her play! It wasn't just a little bit of play; she was having a great time (and so was I).

Since last week, China has decided that she much prefers dry food over canned food, so getting the antibiotic in her is a challenge now. But I was able to squirt it in her mouth this morning (much to her displeasure) so she'll still be getting her medication.

She's right here with me, sitting on a little table, directing me to edit this and that. She looks really, really happy. So does her foster Dad.

China Jan 11th
China on January 11th

Please be sure to watch for updates on her progress here on this blog.

fostering, happy tails

September 26, 2006

This is the second most frequently asked question when people find out my occupation. We have taken them out of Town Lake Animal Center and other "kill" shelters. We have taken them from people who can no longer keep their cats. Some have walked up the driveway. Once I was driving down Mopac and saw a cat sitting atop the concrete barrier by the side of the freeway, speeding cars on one side and a fifty foot drop on the other. It was a harrowing rescue, but he let me pick him up. However, the main way we get cats now is through our volunteers.

Volunteer Annie Stuhr, who shows up every weekday morning at 8 a.m. to scoop all the litter boxes, feed and water everyone, and do myriad other things for Thundering Paws, arrived one day with a black and white ragamuffin kitten whom she had found wandering down Ranch Road 12, which has a 60 mile an hour speed limit. We put her in a cage and took her to the vet later that day. The vet tech said to me, "You'd better be careful of these lesions. They look like ringworm to me." But I have a fully operating denial system and, stupidly, I ignored her. I didn't let Stella inside, but I did put her with Amber and her kittens, and Benjamin, and Jake, and Daniel. They ALL came down with ringworm.

We have amazing volunteers without whom we could not survive. Jeanne Van Antwerp offered her wonderful gazebo to house the ringworm kitties until they got well. Jeanne also bathed them and applied medication to their lesions. They are all now ready for adoption.

Except Stella. Annie Stuhr could not bring herself to let Stella stay with the others. She took her home and kept her in an upstairs bathroom, bathed her, medicated her, took her to the vet, loved her and by that time, Annie was hooked. Her wonderful husband, Billy, loves Stella, and all the kitties Annie has acquired, as much as his wife does.

Volunteer Scott Haywood was visiting a city park in Kerrville, Texas, when he came upon a petrified orange and white kitten in a trap. He put a towel over the trap to calm the baby, gave him some food and water, and left a note on the trap saying where he was camped and that he wanted the cat. He called me for advice.

All night the kitten waited in the trap. Early the next morning. Scott visited him again, with more food and water. Not wanting to take someone's trap, he went back several more times. It became evident that no one was checking this trap. I advised him to "liberate" cat and trap. In my opinion, a person who does not check his traps two or three times a day, especially in a Texas summer, should not own a trap. Scott brought Angel to Thundering Paws.

Angel is not tame but he is free inside here. He is the most playful kitten I have ever met. He plays with balls, crocheted mice, other cats, even string on a stick that a human is brandishing at him. If you sneak up on him at the right angle, you can get in 2 or so pets before he bolts. I think he has potential. We know feral cats who one day just give it up and invite petting. I believe Angel will be one of these kitties some day.

Volunteer Pattie Overstreet called me with a problem. Her nephew, Rich, was at his girlfriend's apartment and saw a mom cat and four kittens darting into a drainage ditch. Pattie, who had had no previous experience in trapping, went over there armed with a trap and got three of the babies. She brought the three to us. Five week old fluffballs, these two boys and one girl do not seem feral as much as simply frightened. Demetri is a dark gray tabby with white feet. Dylan is an orange tabby with white feet. And Kimberley is a brown/gray tabby. Demetri already runs toward humans and Dylan is starting to realize that's a good idea. Kimberley has an inkling that humans won't kill her. Pattie continues to try to trap the mom and the fourth kitten.

Volunteer Trish Mihal was visiting friends close by Thundering Paws. As she left their home and walked down the sidewalk, she came upon a kitten, umbilical cord attached, who appeared to be one day old! She picked him up and went back to the house. A thorough search of the yard produced no mom, and no other kittens. Trish brought him to Thundering Paws.

She knew, of course, that I would only hand her KMR (Kitten Milk Replacement formula) and a tiny bottle. She is one of our best kitten raisers. She took the baby and, having just quit her job so she could get ready to go to college in Washington State, had plenty of time to bottle feed, express bladder and bowel, bathe, snuggle, cuddle, love and pamper the kitten, named Roy.

The next day, her friends called. They had found another one. A miniature of her brother, Dale is a pistol packed in a very small package. Both are screamers when they want food, they want it NOW! And they ate and grew at an alarming rate. Of course, Trish couldn't see how much they were growing because she fed them every four house, often in her sleep.

Roy and Dale

If you are a mom cat, two kittens are not much more trouble than one. If you are a human mom, the trouble multiplies exponentially with each additional kitten. Not only do both have to be fed separately (moms feed them all together, and often in their sleep), but each must have his or her bowels and bladder expressed after each meal; must be bathed, at least partially, after each expressing; and often have to be bathed again when, not having pooped or peed while being physically encouraged by the human, they eliminate in their bed, and often on their siblings. Tiny kittens are a mess!

On the day they turned four weeks, I took Trish some canned kitten food. Neither kitten appeared interested, until I opened Dale's mouth and shoved some food inside. That got her attention and she began gobbling the soft food and visibly expanding. Roy had to be offered the food more than once, but he finally figured it out, too. Trish was ecstatic. When Trish goes to Washington on September 15th, Roy and Dale are going to need another foster parent.

Anyone interested? They eat, drink, poop and pee on their own now.

fostering, rescue