Ed Kostro

Ed Kostro is a wonderful man who sees the value of life in every living creature, be it the humble ant or the mightier and majestic moose! 

Ed Kostro Ever since he was a tiny child of about 3 years old, all creatures held a fascination for him. His wonderful book, ‘Curious Creatures - Wondrous Waifs, My Life with Animals’ tells the story of his life and meeting some wonderful two-legged, four-legged, and in some cases, no-legged – creatures – all of which had an impact on his life. 

 In this section you can read all Ed’s poems, stories and articles.

Ed Kostro is a freelance writer. His work has appeared in Catholic Digest, ByLine Magazine, The Almanac for Farmers & City Folk, Pets: part of the family, PetLife, Cats, and Baku's 'Zine.

Ed's non-fiction animal memoir, 'Curious Creatures - Wondrous Waifs, My Life with Animals', depicting his 50-year love affair with all animals, has recently been published by PublishAmerica.com.  Oliver's Journey is also an excerpt from this book.

Ed currently resides in Illinois with his wife Rebecca, and several rescued dogs and cats, including three 'left behind' hurricane pets he recently brought home from the Gulf Coast.

Ed's book 'Through Katrina's Eyes: Poems from an Animal Rescuer's Soul' was chosen as the selected 'Book of the Month' (for August) of the North Shore Animal League, one of the largest 'no-kill' shelters in the world.

For every book purchased from Amazon through their website, a portion of the proceeds will be donated back to the League.

Be sure to check out Ed's websites.

http://edkostro.home.comcast.net/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html

www.authorsden.com/edkostro

 

 

“There are all sorts of things about your cat you will never, as long as you live, forget. Not the least of these is the first sight of him or her.”  Cleveland Amory 

ValentinaI often wonder if it’s fate, or just sheer luck

 Whenever I encounter all the creatures that I do

I happened upon this tiny furry face in an old wall

Looking so very hungry, so very lonely, and so blue

 She was living under a factory loading dock

 Right next to an old tangled stretch of wood

And when I heard the coyotes howling nearby

 I knew that this little one’s future was not good

 So I started visiting her every chance that I had

 And I always brought her a little something to eat

 She was only about six months old, and so very alone

 Her being able to survive out on her own was quite a feat

 She eventually began recognizing me from quite a distance

 And that cute little face of hers, would now quickly peek out

 I was determined to get her out of her lonely hole in the wall

 I knew she longed to live a much better life, without a doubt

It took quite some time, before I earned her complete trust

But when I did, I immediately whisked her away to the vet

 Vaccinations, parasite removal, and spaying, for this little one

 In all honesty, I’ve never met a homeless waif I haven’t liked yet

 And when I very recently brought this furry little orphaned feline home

 My wife immediately noticed a huge wondrous heart shape on her side

So now, we both smiled, laughed like children, and proclaimed in unison

 “I really think we should name this precious little furball, Little Valentine!”

And so now we have,

And she truly is precious,

And well worth saving,

From an extremely lonely,

And probably very short-lived,

 Orphaned life, out on her own.

 And, of course, as they usually do,

Almost immediately upon her arrival,

 Most of our other once homeless critters, 

Very compassionately, welcomed her home.

 Now, she’s our very sweet and very safe, new little Valentine,

 And to our humble home, she’s brought another ray of sunshine.

 ©2008, Mr. Ed

If you'd like to write a comment to Ed's poem, please go to his Author's Den website. The link to this poem is here:

http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewPoetry.asp?id=217230&AuthorID=14300

Be sure to check out Ed's websites.

http://edkostro.home.comcast.net/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html

www.authorsden.com/edkostro

Time spent with any cat, is never wasted.” Colette

Munchkin_and_TuxedoIt’s been nearly four years now

Since I found them behind a factory

The place was boarded up and deserted

Here, they would no longer be dining free

 I started bringing these two some food

And I named them Munchkin and Tuxedo

They were soul mates down on their luck

And they had nowhere else they could go

 When the frigid arctic blasts of winter came

I built them a snug little shelter from the cold

And here, these two feline soul mates are content

To be together here, living free, and growing old

 We have formed a very trusting relationship now

They always recognize the sound of my old truck

And they always come happily racing from the woods

Knowing at least one human has brought them a little luck

 About two years ago, Munchkin and Tuxedo had several children

Which they let me care for, and I soon found them all good homes

I’ve since trapped, neutered, and returned these two soul mates here

They have definitely decided to live out their lives here, and not roam

 I often worry and fret about them when the icy winter winds blow

But they seem happy, just to be together, living here free and bold

And if you would like to learn how you can help feral cats like them

Please visit The Alley Cat Allies website, which I have linked below

 Killing Our Nation’s Feral Cats,

Shouldn’t Be Our National Policy;

Through Absolutely No Fault of Their Own,

These Creatures Were Born, Both Wild and Free

 Please Spay and Neuter Your Own Pets,

And Support TNR (Trap, Neuter, and Return);

Feral Cats, Just Like All Other Beings On Earth,

For a Chance at Living Out Their Lives, Truly Yearn

 ©2008, Mr. Ed

 www.alleycat.org

If you would like to add your comments about Ed's poem, you can do so on his Author's Den website on this link:

http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewpoetry.asp?AuthorID=14300&id=211096

Be sure to check out Ed's websites.

http://edkostro.home.comcast.net/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html

www.authorsden.com/edkostro

 "Every Feline – is a Masterpiece.”  Leonardo da Vinci

I’ve met many stray felines over the years, and each and every one of them has taught me something.  A cat we now affectionately call ‘Fat Louie’ is definitely no exception.

His was the typical extremely sad life of a feral cat in America – along with millions of others of his kind.  He was the offspring of someone’s neglected, abandoned, and un-neutered pet – forced to fend for himself since birth, forced to rummage through trash bins and dumpsters to survive yet one more miserable day, and always forced to hide in the deep dark shadows in fear of mankind’s utter callousness and cruelty.

I found him one day, along with several other feral felines, desperately scavenging for food in a huge industrial dumpster located near a lakeshore.  And since that day of discovery, Louie has taught me many valuable lessons.

I began feeding this particular feral colony of starving cats, live-trapping and neutering them, and showing them the first tiny bit of compassion that any of them had ever witnessed from a human being. And from Day One, there was just something special about this particular grey-striped cat.

From Day One, Louie was always the first in the feral colony to spot my old truck, to rush out from his hiding place to greet me, and to very patiently wait for some delectable food to be displayed.

Louie always ate with the utter joy of one dining in an elegant gourmet restaurant, and after dining, he always displayed his sheer gratitude for yet one more meal by affectionately rubbing up against my legs, and by purring his feline heart out.

His feral colony friends, however, always remained very aloof and very wary; extremely grateful for another meal, yet knowing full well the immense cruelty that we humans are so sadly capable of displaying towards them at any second.

But Louie had for some reason very quickly decided to throw all caution to the wind, and he was extremely willing to place his trust in me; so one day, I decided to return the favour.  One day, after Louie had dined, I picked him up and gently placed him in my truck.  I told him that he was finally going to get a home, and he quickly looked up at me, purred in deep appreciation, and soon fell fast asleep on the front passenger seat of my truck.

The first stop on Louie’s new journey, however, would be at my veterinarian’s office.  It was time for his neutering, needed vaccinations, and complete medical examination prior to taking him home.  I happily left him there with my vet, and I eagerly went home to prepare for his arrival.

Then the telephone call came from my veterinarian that I had never expected:

“Ed, I’m sorry to tell you that Louie has tested positive for FIV – Feline Immunodeficiency Virus - and in cases like this – the best option is to humanely put him down.”

I couldn’t even respond at first – I had never expected such horrifying news, and I eventually blurted out:

“Please keep him there for a few days while I do some research on FIV, and I’ll call you back.”

It just didn’t seem right, or fair, to me that this extremely docile, lovable, stray cat had to be put down just because he had a virus, so I very quickly decided to learn everything that I could about FIV, and I’m extremely glad that I did.  I also have Louie to thank for learning something new.  I hope I keep learning new things the rest of my life.

I soon discovered that FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) is a ‘lentivirus,’ meaning that it’s a disease that progresses very slowly, gradually affecting a cat's immune system. It is passed from one cat to another through blood transfusions, and through saliva from deep, penetrating, bite wounds - mainly caused by stray, un-neutered, male cats – just like Louie. The most well-known lentivirus in humans is called HIV. But the two are not at all the same, and I soon learned that neither humans nor dogs can get FIV from a cat. In fact, the only thing about FIV that humans can often catch is unwarranted fear, and terrible mis-information.

I also soon learned that as long as cats with FIV are not exposed to diseases that their immune systems can't handle, they can live out perfectly normal lives – if only we allow them to. And they can only pass this virus on to other felines through deep penetrating bites.

Every stray cat that I’ve ever taken into my home my entire life has been extremely docile, extremely grateful to finally have a home to call their own, and extremely willing to accept any other strays in their midst.

So, with this knowledge and understanding about FIV now in hand, I very quickly decided that Louie should not be an exception, and I brought him home.

Louie’s been with us over three years now, and he is one of the best cats that we’ve ever had.

And from Day One, my other former feline orphans and street urchins have readily accepted him, as he has them.

And for the last three years, I’ve never regretted my decision to give this former feral feline another chance at life.

Today, we affectionately call him ‘Fat Louie’ around our home because he truly loves to eat, and he has truly become one very huge, extremely loving, constantly purring grey furball.

As soon as Fat Louie spots either me or my wife, he very excitedly waddles up to us, begins purring his furry feline heart out, does a very enthusiastic feline love dance all around our feet, and then joyously plops over on his back in anticipation of what he loves even more than food these days – a long soft tummy rub and tickle.

We all now love our Fat Louie, the former feral feline who just happens to have FIV, and our home simply wouldn’t be the same without him.  And he loves all of us – unconditionally – with every ounce of his now pleasantly plump feline heart and soul.

I’ve also learned that FIV was only discovered and diagnosed about 15 years ago, so most medical experts today agree that prior to this time, many cat lovers had FIV positive cats in their homes, never even knew it, and loved them anyway.

So if you’re thinking about adopting a cat with FIV, or if a cat that you’ve had and loved for some time has very recently been diagnosed with FIV, please think about our Fat Louie, and please do some research on this disease yourself – before agreeing to what I now believe are far too many death sentences – for far too many extremely loving cats – who just happen to have an immune system virus called FIV.
 

“Time spent with any cat,
Is never wasted.”
Colette

 

©2007 Ed Kostro 

Fat Louie gives thanks 

Ever since childhood, I’ve known that canines are very playful, and that they love playing games, with both their canine pals, and with their human friends.  But it wasn’t until my adulthood, that I learned felines love to play games, as well. 

 And my instructor in feline game playing was extremely wise for his tender young age.  He was a tiny orange tabby kitten that had materialized on my dog’s backyard grave.  And once little Buddy entered my life, it would never be the same.

Ambush

The first game Buddy taught me was ‘Ambush.’  I was feeding several alley cats at the time, and when they would gather out back for their evening meal, Buddy would become extremely excited, eagerly ready to begin his game.

And he tried out his devilish little game on each and every one of these old alley cats.  He would even pick a new ‘victim’ every day.  To initiate the game, little Buddy would race outside while they were dining, and very playfully bat one of them about the head with his paws.  Then he would race back inside my apartment with quite a devilish grin on his furry little face; and he would immediately hide somewhere.

Buddy’s favourite hiding places were always somewhere high up, like the top of a tall bookcase, or the top of my refrigerator.  And when one of the alley cats out back took his ‘bait,’ and raced inside looking for him, he would soon pounce!

He often landed squarely on their backs, and of course, he would startle them so severely, they would jump ten feet in the air, and race back out of the apartment.  Buddy would now stand there with a truly devilish grin on his impish face, and look at me as if to say, “I got them again!”

Eventually, all the outside cats figured out Buddy’s hilarious game, and they would no longer follow him inside.  But little Buddy was a very determined game player and now I quickly became his ‘victim.’

As I re-entered the apartment one night, little Buddy was already in position, and as I passed beneath the refrigerator, he pounced.  And he landed directly on my head!  I jumped, of course, and I raced around the room in mock terror, and Buddy was extremely delighted.  And I roared with laughter.

Buddy never tired of playing Ambush, and he got quite good at selecting new hiding places.  I never knew where he would pounce from next, and I laughed and laughed and laughed.

Fetch

Buddy also liked to sprawl on my lap taking leisurely cat naps, as I worked at my desk.  One night, I happened to be drafting a memo for work, and I was having a very tough time with it.  In exasperation, I grabbed the piece of paper I was writing on, crumbled it up, and absent-mindedly tossed it across the room.

Little Buddy sprang from my lap in a flash; raced across the room; grabbed that piece of paper in his mouth; and raced back with it.  I looked down to discover that he had dropped it at my feet.  So I half-heartedly tossed it off again, and he was immediately off again, chasing it down, and eagerly bringing it back to me.

That night of discovery, I bet I tossed that piece of paper 50 times, and little Buddy always brought it right back.

‘Fetch’ quickly became our new game, and Buddy would now fetch and retrieve almost anything that I tossed across the room – wads of paper, tiny rubber balls, cat toys.  We both delighted in playing Fetch together for many years.

Hide and Seek

My silly mood one evening prompted this new game, but both Buddy and I soon delighted in playing it.

As I entered the apartment one evening after work, Buddy was sprawled out on the couch, looking up at me as I entered.  Feeling silly, I raised my hands high in the air, gave Buddy my silliest ‘funny face,’ and yelled, ‘Boo!’

Buddy immediately raced off somewhere to hide, in mock fear for his life.  So I quickly decided to hide myself, in a deep dark closet.  And as I sat there waiting, I truly wondered if Buddy would come looking for me.

He did.  His cat’s curiosity had quickly got the better of him, and he diligently searched everywhere until he found me.  And he seemed awfully pleased with himself when he did.

So, of course, I yelled ‘Boo!’ again, and he was off, to now find a hiding place of his own.  And he seemed truly crushed, when I eventually found him.

Thus began our new game of Hide and Seek, and now, whenever I would come home from work and not find Buddy waiting for me on the sofa or in the window, I always knew that he had already started the game, and that he was already in some deep dark corner, wondering how long it would take me to find him this time.

Since Buddy was a true Feline Gamester, he loved all three of these games.  But over the years, I’ve discovered that not every cat loves every game.  Felines can be quite selective, with both their food, and with their games.

One of my current cats named Natasha really loves to play Ambush.  She never tires of hiding somewhere, and devilishly pouncing out at me.

Old Fat Louie, rather unbelievably, loves to play Fetch.  He must have decided that he does need some exercise.

And my young Tortoise Shell from New Orleans, Miss Flower, absolutely loves playing Hide and Seek.  And all it takes to start the game is me looking at her and yelling, ‘Boo!’ and she’s off in a flash, searching for that perfect hiding place.

I truly miss my dear old Gamemaster Buddy these days, but his feline gaming legacy lives on, and I will be forever in his debt for teaching me that cats love games, too.

 

© Ed Kostro March 2008

Be sure to check out Ed's websites.

http://edkostro.home.comcast.net/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html

www.authorsden.com/edkostro


 “A cat has nine lives. For three he plays, for three he strays, And for the last three - he stays.”  English Proverb 

FatLouieWhen I first found tiny old Louie

He was starving and far too lean

But ever since I brought him home

He’s turned into an Eating Machine

 And when our Louie begins to dine

There is sheer contentment in his eyes

It’s as if he’s in a fine gourmet restaurant

And for the very best dish he’ll award a prize

He seems to have gained 20 pounds

He loves to eat twenty four hours a day

I guess he wants to make up for lost time

He devours everything that comes his way

Our Louie has Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

Which is equivalent to the Aids Virus in human beings

When I found him, my vet had advised putting him down

I’m glad I never took his advice for all the joy Louie brings

I recently found Louie’s secret hiding place

Where he stashes purloined food for snacks

He had secreted away tons of potato chips

Gobs of French Fries and a leftover Big Mac

He also loves to raid all the cat food bowls

He’s even stolen a complete dinner or two

And the other day he started eating dog food

Which has made all of my pooches very blue

I was really starting to worry about Louie

I had never before seen any feline do that

So I took him to the vet for an examination

And he said, “Louie is just one Happy Fat Cat!”

And indeed Fat Louie is a very contented soul

As he purrs happily while waddling down the hall

This once homeless feline is Home for the Holidays

And that truly is one of the most wondrous things of all

Maybe we should all take our lead from good old Louie

And give thanks for the bounty we receive each and every day

So from Fat Happy Louie and the rest of my wacky critter family

We all wish you the most Joyous and the most Blessed of Holidays

 Hey!  Where did my drumstick go?!

And who hid those dinner rolls?!

LOUIE!!!

And There Are Thousands of Homeless Animals

In Animal Shelters, All Across This Vast Land

That Would Love To Find a Home For the Holidays

Taking One of Them In, Would Be a Gesture Most Grand

 And If You’d Like To Learn More About FIV,

Please Read My Linked Article Below

 ©2007  Ed Kostro

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In the Middle of a World...

"In the middle of a world that has always been a bit mad, the cat walks with confidence."

Roseanne Anderson

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