Friday, June 30, 2006

Baby, it's dark outside...

I got a call from a fellow gattare this morning, about cats on this strip of highway in Ithaca. I may have to resurrect Caitlin, because frankly I'm really getting pissed off that there should be any need for me to have to venture into this other county at all. Another Agency should be responding to these, or creating a community effort to deal with these cats.

But that hasn't happened, so it here we are again.

I haven't been out Lurking in a long while. It's amazing where you can go at night with a scoop of cat food in arms. "Sorry officer, I'm just feeding the cats." I had been told there was a mom cat and kittens out here, and since I was in town, I thought I'd take a look.

I didn't find cats, but I discovered where my friend had fed them back in the bushes were a local business owner said they had been feeding as well. I know it's her, because she's the only cat rescuer who would put out Science Diet for street strays! So I didn't end up leaving food. But I did use my scoop of dry food to grant me access behind buildings to see if anyone else was feeding. I didn't find food, but I found places where cats could find shelter.

It was (and is yet) a beautiful night. I walked quite a few blocks, looking around. I stopped in Pete's to use the ATM, and asked if they ever saw or fed cats. No, ma'am. So at least the area isn't swarming.

I stopped to check on the Fast Food Ferals on the way home (plenty of food already in their feeding station) and came home to let the Monster out to play. Knuckles has somehow managed to chew off all of his OWN whiskers. Sometimes kittens will chew off each other's whiskers (it's called "barbering") but his OWN? How did he manage that?

Mark and I had met in town to have dinner. I suggested a walk afterward, and we ended up on Albany Street, where we found Eugenia feeding the Motley Crew, and walked through Geneva Street, where we saw Sarah working in her garden out front, and her feral Boris granted us a glimpse of his gorgeous white self.

While at Eugenia's, she mentioned a mom cat who was probably someone's pet. As if on cue, Mom Cat wandered by to eat dinner at Eugenia's while we were there. She's lactating, so kittens are somewhere. Later in the evening I ran into Mom Cat again a block away.

And so goes the night.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Finally blogging on the off-site

So, it's only taken me five days, but between kittens, spays, and floods, I'm finally getting around to posting something on the off-site adoption last Sunday.

First off, off-sites "on the street" are usually hit or miss. This time it was a miss. The most common statement we heard was "I already have four cats, that I adopted from the SPCA." Which is actually a great thing to hear. Much better than "My cat keeps having kittens and I don't need anymore."

But what was amazing was how many friends showed up! First April came strolling up, which caused my first doubletake. After all, April lives in Syracuse, two hours away. Yet she drove all the way in and hung out for a few hours. Then Nancy showed up, and also hung out for quite a few hours. Nancy and April are both quite cat savvy. Nancy does a lot of fostering for the Tompkins County SPCA, and her husband is a primary dog volunteer there. So they could answer public questions as well as I could.

Then, while I was fixated on the kittens, Gretchen and Troy showed up and I didn't even recognize them. They fostered Lulu and Dylan, as well as Knuckles. They'll be taking little Knuckles back once he's up to weight and has had his xray. They came bearing lamb baby food (baby food is gold in cat rescue). It was getting to be quite the party (next time I'm bringing food! Human, that is).

Susan from Tamarack Farms had her kittens inside the store so we sent people on in to visit her kits as well. Then suddenly, a couple walked up, and the woman introduced herself as Georg! Jazz was with her, quietly setting up a video camera to film the proceedings. The long and the short of it is that I hope we'll be able to have them over for dinner sometime very soon (and maybe talk a bit about blogging, rather than just cats--which is all I had on the brain on Sunday).

It seemed like every time I turned around I was exclaiming over someone else who had really come a long way to stop by and see us---and just because they had read it here (only a day in advance) on the blog.

Amazing. Wonderful! Thank you!!!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Guess who's out of isolation?

Yup. Knuckles is this week's blog kitty.

Southern Tier under water

Things are not good in the Southern Tier.

I got a call last night from the Alzheimers unit where my dad lives. They were going to evacuate. They called this morning to tell me he was safe at a hotel on the Vestal parkway. My sister in Van Hornesville is without power until Friday, and my sister in Norwich has been helping to clear water out of the local history room of the Guernsey Library. My mother is under a curfew in Norwich.

We are relatively lucky. This is the creek behind our barn. We lost about a foot of land, but otherwise, no problems. But all this water is headed toward Owego, where the water is cresting higher than anytime in recorded history.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Too tuckered to blog...long day!

...but here is a photo of Knuckles trying to climb my bare leg. The off-site didn't net any new homes, but I can't believe the bloggers and past adopters who traveled to visit! I am overwhelmed. More tomorrow!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Off Site Adoption Sunday!

We'll be at Michaels craft store on Route 13 (behind Chili's and near Barnes and Noble) this Sunday from ten am to noon, in Ithaca.

Come by and visit us! You don't need to be looking for a cat or kitten. We have fun hanging out and talking. It's about the only time I get to see my friends.

Susan from Tamarack Farms will be bringing cats and kittens, too. I plan to bring Billee, Tiger Tom, Casper and Cassie, and two of the younger kittens (who won't be ready to adopt, but could use the exposure).

This photo is from last year at Michaels. This year I plan to set up outside. Susan would like to be inside, so I'll send people on in to her. People enjoyed us last year, but we didn't get any adoptions. I can't spend a whole afternoon without the best chance of finding homes for these guys, therefore the outside site where people from Barnes and Noble and Habitat will see us. And hey, then I'll send them on in to Susan!

AND two more of the kittens have "holds" on them.

AND Knuckles is doing really well. I'm getting the guest room ready for...well...guests, and Knuckles thought that it was real blast to help strip the bed. He met Sadie the dog tonight and didn't even fluff his little tail. He walked right over and said "Hi."

Sadie didn't think a lot of that. You could almost hear her say "God, no, not another KITTEN."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Heavy, deep, and real. 1987

I've put a battery limit on myself on this post. When the battery starts to die, I have to stop.

(First off, Knuckles is doing great!)

This post, and future diary posts I will make here, is for one of the wonderful people who helps care for my cats. She emails me tonight to ask if I had the same soft heart when I was young that she has now.

She says "I know that in order to help effectively, I have much to learn. I also know that much of what there is to learn will be painful and horrible...I wonder, were you ever like me when you were younger? Has experience helped you find that balance, or is it just your personality?"

Experience. Not personality.

I know when people meet me, they are often quietly shocked about how blunt I am about animal suffering and euthanasia. They often don't say anything, but I can see it in their eyes. Their expressions don't change so much as freeze just a little when I say that I sometimes choose to put cats down if they are suffering in my care. Or when I mention to a visitor that an obviously pregnant cat is headed to the vet to be spayed the next day.

I don't blame them. I don't blame them at all. But I don't stop talking.

Then they get to know me and they discover I'm a pushover.

I began my work with feral kittens in 1991 so that our local SPCA would not have to accept feral kittens for euthanasia. I tamed them instead, and found them homes. Later, that same SPCA leaped ahead of me and began offering trap/neuter/return. So they returned the favor by forcing me to deal with colony management (instead of just kittens). Now even the adults get a chance at life.

Nonetheless, every cat in my place is a cat that no shelter would accept. They are all "unadoptable" cats who would be killed anywhere else, or left on the street uncared for.

I will not, however, call myself no-kill, because periodically euthanasia comes knocking on my door. Or pregnant cats are spayed to prevent a birth. Or I tell someone "No" because I am full. Some cat or unborn kitten dies in every case, and while I'll glad tell people the cats I do save would otherwise die, I won't call myself no-kill, and I don't shy away from discussing euthanasia.

I am not the person I was when I was 20, or even 24. I don't think we would recognize one another if we met. I am not sure the person I was then and the person I am now would like one another. I would like to hope we would. I have a bit of an advantage over her, however.

I have her diary.

These won't be easy posts to read, so be forewarned. Every now and then I will post one on the blog. Here goes:

May 25, Memorial Day, 1987.

It's about time I began this. I was afraid I'd work and leave this job at the SPCA without ever writing down a thing that happened to me.

I've been at the job a year now. I don't know how much longer I'll be able to last in it. It seems as though every call is heartbreaking, or at the very least unpleasant. Sometimes I feel more like a murderer than a savior of animals. But I don't have a better answer to how to do the job of a humane officer

That's the euphemism, of course. The harsh title is animal control officer. The insult is "dogcatcher."

Some good things do happen, though. I know no one really knows what my job is like. God knows I have a hard enough time trying to to understand it myself. It seems a sin to call myself a writer and let this day-to-day, life and death, go on without setting down a word.

Okay. I'll try.

June 1, 1987.

One thing you can be sure of--if there's a pickup to do at Landmark Square, the animal is probably a kitten under six weeks, just on the breathing side of death.

I got an emergency call for a kitten tonight. A little black and white thing. He was so thin he looked like a little old man, and he was cold as stone. I guess someone saw him that afternoon but didn't think to call, so he sat through two thunderstorms until a girl wrapped him in a tshirt and called me at 7:00.

I took him to (vet clinic), but I can't say if he'll live or not.

I picked up another kitten earlier in Enfield. The woman found him at the side of Black Oak Road, with his eyes crusted closed. There was this infant cat, toddling down the road, blind as a bat... I cleaned his eyes at the shelter and gave him a cage in holding, but P. saw him and doomed him to ISO (Note: all the human names/initials have been changed. ISO=Isolation, for sick animals, which were almost always euthanized. This is no longer true at this same shelter. Continuing...)

That's what I hate the most. The kittens and mom cats who never get a fighting chance. There's something sacred about "the children and the women" that gets warped when humans have to decide what animals live and die.

Rastus, Bram and Spot were once fuzzballs like that Black Oak toddler. Spot and Brambles, at least, were fated to die. I keep telling myself that at least I gave them a chance, but then a new wrinkled kitten face looks at me, and that's no consolation at all.

(Note: R, B, and S were my cats at the time. I adopted Spot during my first few weeks at the SPCA, not realizing the orange circle around his name meant he was supposed to have been euthanized that evening. I picked out Bram a week later as a playmate for Spot, and chose her specifically because she was on the euth. list that day. I had adopted Rastus from the Chenango County SPCA in Norwich six years years earlier).

I keep telling muself some day I'll get out of this job and I won't have to do this any longer. But it will all stll be there, whether I am or not.

Ignorance is bliss, as they say. How many horrors am I ignorant of that people would call more important---starving children rather than kittens. Impoverished mothers rather than mom-cats.

But just because there is greater agony in the world than what exists in our little animal shelter, doesn't make the abuse animals endure any less a sin, less a moral crime against them.

June 2, 1987

Another mom-cat dilemma today. Last night around 10 I got a call from C. Trailer Park (a rural Landmark Square with five times the area and twenty times the population). The woman's cat had been HBC the night before, and had a broken paw, internal injuries. She was the mother of one small kitten. Three others had died

This morning I went to get them, since the woman said she would surrender them to the SPCA. She had no money, so if we didn't come, she had no plans to take him to the vet.

The mother was beautiful, a soft gray with wonderful green eyes that could almost speak. Cats don't usually cry out in pain--they'll scream if attacked or stepped on, but I've never heard that soft quick cry of pain and protest this cat gave as they passed her to me. One hind leg was swollen twice its usual size, and I know sure as hell we wouldn't spend the money to send her to the vet, but would euethanize this beautiful cat whose only crime was belonging to a family who didn't know how to care.

The trailer they lived in was cramped and filthy. The door was a piece of wood, and dirty sheet covered the windows. It stank of dampness and trash.

There is poverty. Then there is another thing called poverty too. One is a lack of money. The other is the mistaken belief that the answer to all your sins and shortcomings is that you are poor.

They then told me they had decided to keep the kitten.

The kitten was only one week old.

I can never understand how a person can say to me "Take care of my animal, I haven't the money," then with scarcely a heartbeat between one breath and the next they say "Can you tell me where I can get another?"

There was a boy, about 20. His black lab was hit on Dryden Road in the morning. He took it to the backroom of his house and left with friends. The dog could not walk and was in shock, lying on a cold linoleum floor without a blanket, for almost 12 hours.

At 6:30 I was just typing out a search warrant, preparing to seize the dog and meet with State Police to arrest the kid, when I got a message he would sign the dog over.

Why did he leave the dog alone? "I didn't have any money." (with an open, honest face, as if this was certain answer enough). What was he going to do with dog when he got home? "We were going to fix him up."

As he helped me carry the dog on a stretcher to the van he asked if we had any doberman puppies at the shelter, because his doberman had been killed in the road the week before. He'd taken it into the woods and dumped it. Was he too poor to dig a hole, I wonder?

So this kitten. One week old. Mother to be euthanized, so obviously the kit would die with its mother at the shelter. What to do? Doom it to certain death by taking it? Or leave it to these people, who did not care to clean themselves or their children, let alone a tiny kitten. I saw it in my mind's eye six weeks later, if it lived so long, thin and dirty, fed only on milk or water (because that's all kittens eat, right?) eyes thick and watery because they could not afford vaccinations, to bear countless kittens because they could not afford to spay her, and die at last, like her mother, by the wheels of a car because they could not afford to save her?

What is the moral thing to do? Not humane, but right? Give the kitten its only chance by leaving it with these people? I was 90% sure it would die in their care, but still, 10% was more than I could offer it.

I took the kitten. And, as I expected, both mom and kit died within a half hour of their arrival at the SPCA.

We only have 2 cat cages left. Two tigers and their mother came in. We kept the kittens because we have no others of that color. Mom will die tomorrow night, because there is no more room.

I love winter. In the winter all the cats are adults and we keep them for months until they all find homes.

Then spring comes, and the chance that a female cat over 4 months will find a home is less than slim.

It's easy to forget, over the winter, that I am a murderer. Now I am forced to remember.

June 9, 1987

The first horrible thing that happened today was that the people who surrendered the HBC mom cat and kit called. They thought they were going to get the cats back. Thought we'd fix them up and return them. I was sure I had made it clear that they had given the cats the to SPCA, but apparently the man hadn't realized. Over the phone he kept saying "I can't get my cat back? I can't adopt her back? Why not?"

Because, I had to think, but not say, you cats are dead. We killed them without giving them a chance. Because there was no room.

And God forbid the SPCA should have to a pay to save an animal!

I can't help how bitter I sound, but you know, its true. If the cat is stray and the university will do the vet work for free because the law says we have to keep the animals alive 5 days, then we feel so good about the animals we rescue. But when the animal is surrendered and therefore belongs to the SPCA, we immediately euthanize it.

What would we do if there were no university? If we had to pay to help our strays? Would we?

If I were the director, I'd probably bankrupt the place. The there'd be no SPCA and no one at all to help. Sometimes I understand why we are as frugal as we are. But that doesn't help when the animals is looking at you."

Battery dying. Good night.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Knuckles is ill

Sunday I got a call from Knuckles' foster home that he wasn't doing so well, so I picked him up on Monday a.m. in Ithaca. He had just broken with a pretty serious upper respiratory, and has lost weight. He seems to have overcome the dehydration, but can't smell well enough to eat as much as he ought, so has to be fed by syringe (Science Diet a/d and turkey baby food). I've got him in our guest room (having just moved the last batch of kittens out of our Cats-Are-Off-Limits-Great-Room into the cat facility now that they are big enough).

He's pretty bony, but has a lot of spunk still. He was sitting on my knee tonight and suddenly decided he'd rather be on my shoulder. You wouldn't think a seven-week old kitten who only weighs a scant pound and is lacking certain bones in his front legs could leap up to your shoulder without warning, but that's right where he went.

He's tucked in for the night now. He's such a cutie. Amazing personality.

Note for future foster home packages: Include emergency rations for if kittens should fall ill, plus a syringe. A/D is wonderful stuff, and has kept a lot of kittens on this side of the life line.

Skinniness aside, he's only about half the size of his littermates. Poor Knuckles!

Post Note: His littermates, who were also in the same foster home, are doing great. They have no signs of illness, so I'm sure Knuckles--being a special needs kitten and tiny to start--just had a lowered immune system that made him more susceptible to catching something. Thank you, G and T, for taking care of them all!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

How would you like to go to school with this in your back school yard?

My sister Linda lives in Van Hornesville, a tiny village near Cooperstown NY, that I am certain I am misspelling. She has a lovely little farmhouse/duplex that backs onto an old stone school, which is in fact not a private school, but their local K-12 school. It is gorgeous, and they have a nature area in the back woods with caves, waterfalls, and amazing plants like the liverworts at the bottom. I keep meaning to bring my good 35mm camera to take photos, but today made do with my cheap digital when we were up there today for my neice's wedding shower.

Linda plays with the Glimmerglass Opera, so this summer we will need to take the time to travel up to see a performance.

Friday, June 16, 2006

PetsMart Charities feral cat webinar...

...was excellent today, and there's still another one coming up. This was a great experience. You register on line. You do have to download a java plugin. You call in, and make your comments on an on screen online chatboard, if you like. You listen to the presenters on the phone and view the slides online, live. Definitely check it out.

There is still room in the last feral cat webinar.

I also just signed up for this one (whoopsie. Two hours. I'd better go to work earlier to make up for it).

June 20, 2006
Starting time: 1:00 pm, Pacific Daylight Time (GMT -07:00, San Francisco)
Duration: 2 hours
Presenters: Kit Jenkins
Description: The stress experienced by the pets in your care is unique, and many of the primary stressors are out of your control. Stress directly affects the mental and physical health of all animals. You cannot prevent the normal transitional issues or provide all of the comforts of a permanent home environment. However, you CAN successfully work to identify stressful factors and reduce (or eliminate) as many of them as possible. This session will address these issues from the animals' perspectives and will give you the starting points and resources to begin improving your conditions.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

This is what strikes me as a beautiful cat

I love my longhairs, but I'm an alleycat lover at heart, and this little lady is perfect. My phone rang the other day, and Bill and Susie, from Animal Care Equipment and Services, had rescued a cat from a roadside spring (where people stop to fill their own jugs with spring water) when they were here in New York. Someone obviously had dumped her there.

Bill and Susie actually found a possible home for this little lady, but it did not work out with the adopter's current cat and upcoming travel plans. The adopter was able to hang onto her while I was in New Jersey, which was wonderful.

I picked her up today, and since I was driving right by the vet, I stopped in. They were able to fit her in. She is FeLV/FIV negative, has had her rabies shot and is (you guessed it) pregnant. The vet came through in a big way by squeezing her in for a spay appointment Friday.

Thank goodness.

But little Billie is a perfect cat. Yes, Perfect with a capital P. She is quiet, gentle, affectionate without being obnoxiously friendly, is fine in the car (just curled up and went to sleep) and is absolutely beautiful. She is a little tan tiger, with sort of an Abysinnian look (sp? too tired to look it up right now).

Someone is going to be very lucky when they adopt this cat.

The next batch grows up.

And like kittens do, they are getting cuter every day...right up to the point where they turn into gawky teenagers.

This shot was obviously before the cage was cleaned. It seems like they can never come out to be photographed AFTER the kitty litter is all picked up.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


My wireless reaches to the Cat Garden. I am blogging from the yard. This is insane. Insane and perfect. I distinctly remember, oh, ten years ago, as an admin assistant in the Provost's Office at Ithaca College, trying to get Mozilla to download (remember the Mozilla dinosaur? Fitting now, huh?) and thinking "Why the hell would anyone wait this long just to see something on a computer?"

And now half my life is internet-based. If you count that my cat adoptions are largely online, then we are talking three-quarters. Thank goodness my husband isn't a virtual husband. Sometimes it seems like he's the only thing real around here.

I have a half day off, today. I am on an extended leash for Tuesday. I am in a very small heaven. I have been into town, been to the vet, redone my flower boxes on the cat facility, went up to my office and did some work, fed some kittens, cleaned some house, and no, I haven't done the personal paperwork I planned to do, so I'll get to that now.

But hard to go inside, when it's this beautiful outside.

The red building (barn) across the road is the cat facility.

There is a chipmunk burrow in the Cat Garden (the cat cemetary for anyone who cares for ferals). I've been watching him/her bring seeds to the hole from the birdfeeder. I think it's rather fitting that a chipmunk lives among cat memories. We all pass on, sooner or later.

Mandatory spay/neuter in Rhode Island!

Way to go, RI!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Travelin' kittens

What did we ever do before Rubbermaid/Tupperware and their knockoffs? When I bring kittens in the house, or travel with them, I have a 30 gallon tote, clear (so they aren't in darkness), and the top has a square hole cut in them middle (so they can't hop out). I put towels on the bottom, a small cat box, food and water. I remove the water when driving. When there isn't electricity, warmth is provided by rice socks (heated in microwaves where ever they can be scavenged). Where there is, a heating pad can be laid under about ten inches of one end of the tote, so if they want to be where it is warm, they can. This is good until they are about five weeks old, at which point they can jump out if the top is off. Whether or not there is enough space over time depends on how many kittens there are. At 3.5 weeks, they need time in a room to scramble around. These guys rode in the cap-covered back of my truck to New Jersey. They stayed out there during the day, because it was sunny but chilly, and the temp was just about right for them under a black truck cap. When I was at the hotel, they were of course inside with me. I stuffed towels in the holes behind the air conditioner. Other than that, the hotel room was hazard-less, and they had a grand time running around.

And everyone had a grand time playing with them.

Knuckles' foster home called this morning. He is acting fine and eating again. So I left him with the foster home and his sibs. I'm guessing his lethargy and "not eating" was possibly due to vaccine reaction (he was vaccinated with an intranasal modified live vaccine on Friday) plus the stress of changing homes.

I remember...

this, from when I worked for a county shelter.. Well enough that, reading, tears come. Even though, now, euthansia is my own choice. (Only because, as a small rescue, my intake is limited).

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The camera is in the truck....

...and it's 11:30 pm and I'm too tired to go out and get it. So I'll post the Travelin' Kittens tomorrow. It was damned chilly, so I stopped at bought rice at the store, poured it into an extra set of socks (you can never pack too many socks) and scavenged microwaves to warm up the rice filled socks to keep the baby feline buggers warm. But you know what? Four four-week-old kittens do emit enough body heat to warm up a 30 gallon rubbermaid bin on their own. They really didn't need rice socks. Do you think we can harness this energy? Can we warm the world with kittens?

The kittens got all sorts of attention while on the trip, and probably were fed more than they needed to be, because they were getting so many visitation sessions. We are all back home, safe and sound.

Their Mom-cat, who wasn't eating, still isn't eating, has suffered two feeding/watering sessions with me since I got home. Otherwise she has zero signs of illness. She is bright and alert after six days of not eating on her own, so we can pretty much rule out rabies. Once a rabid animal starts showing any symptoms of illness, they go rapidly downhill. This cat shows not one sign of illness other than a refusal to eat. So she gets water and food via syringe by me. She is not offering to bite at all, and is not lethargic. What the (four letter expletive?)??? If it did not KNOW for a FACT that she was born feral, I would assume she was a dropped pet, because she hasn't offered to bite at all or swat while I've been feeding her in her den (which restricts her movement). So tomorrow I'm going to make the Big Move (now that rabies really isn't a likely risk) and bring her out and handle her like a normal pet cat. I suppose it's possible that she was dumped, is an abandoned pet, and just happens to look exactly like the ferals who were also on site. With cats, nothing is impossible.

I got a call from the foster home of little Knuckles. He's not doing so well. His sibs are OK, though. So I will be picking him up and taking him to the vet tomorrow. His foster home is interested in possibly adopting him, so I'll keep them in the loop. They called me via cell while I was driving back from NJ. It always makes me feel relieved when foster homes do call in when they have concerns about a kitten. With those of us who are CONTROL FREAKS, it makes us sleep better at night when people check in who have concerns

Saturday, June 10, 2006

It's 2 a.m. Do you know where your kittens are?

I'm tired. I'm the younger people get the reference? It is ingrained enough in culture that the under-20 crowd has heard it before?

The photo is of little Hobart, one of the kittens that I'm bottlefeeding.

At any rate, five of my six-week old kittens are sleeping in two different foster homes tonight. They aren't just "my" kittens anymore. It was a good night. There are never enough hours in the day, and the whole drive back from the Cortland/Dryden area I was obsessing about what I could be doing with those two hours (over and back). But what good does it do? You take the kittens where the good people are. And there were good people in Cortland and Dryden. Now that I've seen their homes and how they handle the kittens (and how spoiled their pet cats are), if needed I can pass future kittens off in Ithaca, where both fosterers work, if they are interested in fostering again.

Now, with an extra cage, I was able to move the one mom left with kittens into a extra large cage, and move Espie up to a larger one than the one she was crashing in. Espie is on metronidazole and--oh happy day--the diarrhea has immediately gone away. The vet tech suspects a bacterial infection. Thank you Ellen! It worked! I'm so wearily glad, because adopting out a cat with irritable bowel or other "loose stool" issue is a difficult proposition.

So I met two wonderful foster homes today, and the kittens will have a lot more fun in real homes, and grow up far more normal than if they were stuck in my cat facility. Even little Knuckles the radial hypoplasia kitten is out romping in a real home!

So off to NJ tomorrow. I need to get up really early to take care of the cats. And pack. And hit Yahoo maps online. And, and, and....


Friday, June 09, 2006

Open House at Cornerstone Veterinary Hospital

...and I'm missing it!

(Post note: for those of you arriving here via Google to find Cornerstone, their clinic is on 315 Third Street in Ithaca, in the same plaza as the Department of Motor Vehicles. Their phone is 607.391.7055. Their website is Tell them you found them via Wildrun's blog!)

I will be in New Jersey this weekend, so will miss the Open House for the new Cornerstone Veterinary Hospital. Joan called today and asked me if I would like to bring cats to adopt. Argh! What a perfect opportunity! I had wanted to go just to wish them well. To have the opportunity to find homes for some of my cats would have been a wonderful gift.

They all have been incredibly supportive at the clinics where they previously were associated. It's the simple truth that I would not have been able to care for all of these cats over the past 12 years without them.

If any of you Ithaca folks can make it, it is Saturday, June 10, from 10am -2 pm. The new clinic is on 315 Third Street in Ithaca, in the same plaza as the Department of Motor Vehicles. Their phone is 607.391.7055. Tell Anne, Chris, Ellen and Joan I said hi, and good luck!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sooner or later they end up in the house...

One of the feral mom's decided to stop eating for the past two days. This worries me, so I pulled her kittens off and am bottle-feeding them. And I'm force feeding momcat with a syringe and turkey baby food. Syringe feeding a feral is a real joy, and thank goodness for feral cat dens. Luckily this cat is a "freeze" feral rather than a "swat" feral. She's eating the baby food I'm putting into her, so I don't quite know what's up. It could be stress.

At any rate, we now have kittens in the house, because I don't want the kittens in the facility screaming for mom and distressing her since she can't get to them. They are in the Everywoman's Cat Room (i.e., the bathroom).

My laptop has also picked up some ill or another and Picasa won't work at all. I've got error messages all over the place flashing up on my screen, so I guess it's time a trip to the geek squad. I could take it with me to New Jersey this weekend and beg one of the tech guys to take a look at it, but gosh, they've got to hate that. "Hi! Haven't seen you in months! Can you fix my laptop?"

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Finding them a "good home."

There is a blog I like to read where one of the bloggers is moving a long distance and therefore will be placing two older cats in "good homes."

I hope this cat owner stays cat-less after the move, or chooses to foster rather than own. Or adopts senior cats that otherwise might not get a home.

Reading posts of this sort give me an aching heart. I look at my kittens and pray they won't go to homes that will give them up when they are settled, mature, fat, and deserve a secure life, just for the sake of a few thousand miles an a month or so of turmoil.

What if the "good home" doesn't work out? Where will the cats end up then?

When I think of what so many shelters workers and independent rescuers sacrifice to help cats that belong to other people or were dumped on other people, I just can't imagine how people can give up their own pets, just because, for a short while, there will be inconvenience for both. When the owner is ill, or a family member has died, or a house burns down, or a person becomes depressed and recognizes that they are taking it out on their pets...I can see situations where one might choose to give up their pets.

But moving?

Think how many rescuers moved animals from the hurricane regions all the way to Canada when shelter space ran out in the south.


No excuse. It is a REASON perhaps. But it is not an excuse.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Two down, thirteen to go!

Can you believe how cute this little guy is? He was washing his paws and batting at his mom. The problem with taking photos is that you can't just stop and watch! And watching something this cute is so damned fun.

My friend Alice, formerly of Ithaca College and now working at Cornell, came by and tentatively adopted two kittens today. We sat on the floor and played with kittens and talked for about two hours. I completely forgot I had coffee made in the house. Little Knuckles kept climbing on her back. He is by far the most social of all the kittens, however, he is only half their size and very thin. I am concerned he has more issues than his front paws. Nonetheless he is the happiest little kitten you could imagine, and even if he has a short life, he's enjoying it immensely.

And, who knows? He could live to be 20!

The tinier kittens (like the ones above) are doing well, and soon will be pouncing around, too.