Saturday, September 30, 2006

Coffee and Kittens Sunday, October 1!

We're having a "Coffee and Kittens" tomorrow. This used to be a regular feature around here on Sundays. People would mostly come by to have good coffee, and subject the feral kittens to lots of holding and petting, to tame them.

(update, 11:00 pm. Cookies are all baked. smells good. Thank you Mark, for doing the baking! Many RSVP's! It should be a fun time).

Taming hasn't been an issue this summer. Many of our kittens were born right here to feral moms who gave birth right upon capture, so they grew up in a home environment. We also have a few dedicated volunteers who visit regularly, so the ones that were wild tamed up quite nicely!

So I decided to be open tomorrow for a few adopters, since we have so many kittens available for adoption right now.

Nancy and Annette sent the info around via email, and now it looks like it's turning into a major event!

We have eleven kittens of our own that are seeking homes. Two of those are too small to go right now, but can have holds placed on them, or can be placed in a foster-to-adopt situation. I'll also be picking up two local kittens from a woman who rescued five and still has two left, and a couple of feral kittens. These kittens can be pre-adopted, but will definitely need a vet visit and FeLV/FIV testing before we would send them home with anyone. They will be downstairs, away from the upstairs kitten population.

Both adopters and "just visitors" are coming, so if you are interested, drop me an email at info @ (remove spaces) and I'll send directions if you need them! It looks like it will be a nice day for a drive.

We'll be open from noon to six pm. Hope to see some of you then!

Don't blame just the husbands for forgetting anniversarys...

Conversation tonight:

"So what are you up to tomorrow?" Me, to husband.

"Well, I suppose you'll need want to spit-polish the cat facility," he says with semi-amusement (for Coffee and Kittens on Sunday, which I decided to hold on short notice). "However, it's our wedding anniversary so I thought we were doing something together." And yes, indeed, we had discussed at week ago how we planned to spend our sixth wedding anniversary (and ...17th year together?)


So I'll clean in the morning, and Mark and I will be doing wineries in the afternoon.

Love you, handsome. Thank you for putting up with all these cats!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Doin' the kitty jig.

I was feeling a bit down about not having placed more kits this week. So I've been working on the websites, updating pet lists, making posters, etc.

And then I got this, which made everything all right (Shayna, send photos, send photos!!!). And Happy Birthday!
Hey Susan,

Just wanted to tell you that I've been really inspired by your blog, and today, my birthday, I decided to celebrate by doing a good deed- I'm fostering 3 kittens. I have a 10 year old cat, Atticus, who looks basically unimpressed by the whole kitten thing. He's pretty chill though. They are quarantined for 10 days because they came straight from Animal Control, and then I'll arrange introductions. The kittens are all litter-mates, an orange tabby and a grey tabby, who are always wrestling, and a very soft tortie. I haven't named them yet.

Anyways, thank you so much for your blog, and if you want to put my story- and photos- up, I'm happy to oblige.

Fostering rocks,

Shayna (and Atticus)

Note: If they aren't already, have those kittens FeLV/FIV tested before introducing them to Atticus!

Fostering saves lives. Period. If you are fostering kittens anywhere, for anyone, and don't have a blog, send photos and your story and I'll be happy to post it here! If you are fostering and have a blog, let me know when would like a link. I try to link when I see fun stuff, but I've haven't been as good at that as I could, this summer.

And Atticus is a very cool name for a cat. I think a kitten here may have to become an Atticus.

Venturing where I've never gone before...

...No, not some strange, foreign country. Well, maybe it IS a strange, foreign country.

No, I updated my American Cat Project web page.

I had to dig through years of email to find the log-in information. The web site is Alden's baby, but I wanted to highlight adoption of the kittens, and get the special events posted. I figured "Hey, I can do this." If I can blog here, and I can manage my Petfinder site I can update a page that's already built, right?

And other than one short scary moment where I bolded the whole index page (fixed!) I don't think I broke anything.

Thank goodness!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Fall colors

This weekend went fast. Friday I had to take little Bebe to the vet. She pulled her interior stitches (thank you, Gretchen, for mentioning you noticed a lump) and had a hernia, so she had to get opened up again and restitched. Then she pulled her EXTERIOR stitches overnight at the vet, and was stapled. Now she has an E-collar on, and I need to post a photo because she is quite cute, the little pain. This means she is unadoptable for two weeks, although someone could put a "hold" on her.

Billee and Gunsmoke went to their new home today. Mark and I spent the afternoon at a family function, and during my drive home, it was clear that fall has arrived:

I still haven't purchased a shrub for Sammy's grave in the cat garden, and I've been meaning to get a mum in the meantime. But every time I think of it, the garden places are closed. On the way home tonight I passed a little roadside stand that was just someone's house. I thought perhaps they'd have a paybox, but the resident came right out even though it was past 5:00 on a Sunday, and a I purchased a great big mum. Yesterday I found a little winged cat at Agway, so now Sammy has his memorial, until next spring when I can find him a good shade tolerant shrub.

I have many people who have inquired about kittens, so hopefully some will get homes this week. One especially nice couple would like indoor/outdoor kittens (I only adopt to indoor homes). However, I have a few people with "found kittens" that I cannot take because I am full, and perhaps we can make a connection there. Better a very good indoor/outdoor home than being left on the street for the winter!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

If this weren't such an neat photo...

I would be thinking "Oh God, more kittens." These are the mystery kittens. That mom cat? She's spayed. But the vet noticed she was lactating so we returned her as soon as possible. Apparently her kittens did NOT die unattended while she was at the vet (thank goodness; I always have nightmares about that). Mom is still lactating weeks later, feeding these two kits, even though she was fixed weeks ago.

Click the photo to get the gamboling impact. I initially cropped it to bring the cats out more, but it lost that feeling of "feralness"--not to mention the autumn season--so I put up the original.

So it looks like it's time to trap more kittens! This is the same place where we got these kittens who, coincidentally, JUST got fixed to be available for adoption, and are now tamed and ready to go.

Great shot, Valarie! It's not often someone has a camera in hand to get a feral momcat and kittens in the frame.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Borrowed Mark's work camera...

....but the shutter is too slow. Out of an hour's work I got one nice shot:

...and I finally gave up after too much of this...

...and left the cats to have fun with the "backdrop" I had been using...

Isn't Ginny a cutie?

OK, I did get an OK shot of Charlie smiling:

Everyone is replaceable...

I had to laugh when I was at my college for Homecoming Weekend. I had provided wildlife control and rescue services there for almost 15 years, and I've been a bit worried about whether or not the ducks and ducklings have been watched over after I left. The baby ducks jump in the fountains and can't get out without their duck ladder, which gets removed every winter. I needn't have worried, as I see the ladder was installed this spring without me nudging anyone:

And a staff member appears to have taken it upon her/himself to make sure they fly safely south. Is this funny or what? You may need to click the photo to read it:

Bless them. I assume the faculty have a sense of humor, since the sign apparently has been up awhile.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dogs definitely deserve better.

(Welcome About Cats readers! It's mere coincidence that we have dog blogging above the fold today. More cat blogging below! Hope you enjoy both, and thanks, Franny, for the link!)

There are few animal organizations I admire more than Dogs Deserve Better. They have taken a problem (chained dogs) and made it their own. Tammy Grimes is passionate without over the top as some of the rest of us are. I admire her ability to balance common sense with firm moral action. And now she has been arrested for removing a suffering dog from a chain. Now, she knew she might be arrested. That's not the issue. The issue is that the owners of the dog have not been charged. Please visit the Dogs Deserve Better site to read and view about the incident yourself (Note, the page is in blog style. Read from the bottom up).

Note to anyone in a similar situation. Humane officers are not the only agency that can respond to a case of animal cruelty. Call your local police as well. If they refuse to respond because it's "not their job," nicely ask that they log your call as received on their written log or computer-aided dispatch (also, almost all police calls are recorded, but tapes might only be kept for a week before being taped over, so check back if ASAP if you need proof that you called).

To have charges of cruelty lodged (in the state of NY) tell police you wish to file a written deposition. Even if they try to tell you it's not a crime...politely but firmly insist on filing a deposition. Once there is a paper in the system, someone has to do something with it. They can't just dump it in the trash. Someone has to make a decision, and someone becomes accountable for that decision...not just you. Don't expect police to file charges based on what you tell them. Ask to file a written statement yourself. If they still refuse because "they don't do animal calls", put what you witnessed in writing, make a copy, and leave it at dispatch. Let them decide what to do with it.

Maybe it ISN'T a crime. For example, if a dog has food, water, and a dog house, no matter how dirty or sad he is, this physical and emotional neglect may not be against the law. But chances are good your local police are not familiar with animal cruelty law, so don't take their "over the desk" word for it. Ask to see the law and if they are too busy or don't have it, politely ask to leave your deposition for someone to review when they have time.

Never be rude to police or officials, and always persevere. I once took a witness and his deposition to the local DA for a signature for a seizure warrant for a kitten that was dying on a city porch. The DA told me (in front of the witness) that "he didn't have time for kittens; he was working on a murder case." Luckily, as we walked out, I passed the city judge's office and he was working late. He graciously took the 10 minutes required to review the evidence and issue the warrant. The witness, who had previously been PO'd with me for "not doing anything" (he had wanted me to take the kitten from the property without a warrant) apologized and expressed his shock that we were treated so poorly in an attempt to get a dying kitten veterinary care LEGALLY.

However, I have to say, now that I am no longer a humane officer, with a uniform, a badge, and some small clout to walk into a DA or city judge's office after hours, I probably would have just taken that kitten, left a note on the owner's door saying something like "Because you weren't home, I though you would want me to help your kitten who was in distress. I can be reached at...", and gone to the vet with him immediately. At the time, I followed standard procedures--and risked the kitten's life by delaying--because I worked for an official agency and wanted to keep my job. My job at the time was ALL ABOUT following criminal procedure. It was about following society's rules and my employers rules---and that was secondary to the kitten's life at the time.

The kitten's life shouldn't be secondary.

And neither should Doogie's.

Gifts by mail...

These beautiful quilts came for the shelter cats...THE SHELTER CATS, DITZY! NOT YOU! the mail late last week. The post office window is only open a few hours a day so I wasn't able to pick them up until recently.

Aren't they beautiful? Ditzy thinks so. Should I perhaps call them afghans instead of quilts, since they are knitted? There was no note with them, but a little bird gave me a hint who might have sent them. I'm sure the cats in the cat facility will just love snuggling into them now that the weather is getting colder.

Thank you so much! Gifts like these...that someone put so much work into...really touch the heart. How can you conceive of a stranger caring so much to make and send them? It's incredible.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Snuck down from the hill to blog...

We have friends over, and for the first time in the six years we've lived here, we are having a campfire up on the hill. But I snuck down the hill to blog while everyone else is partying. Just photos....

Today I did a food inventory and realized I had more than enough to share. So I hit three colonies in my immediate neighborhood and left food and in some places, straw for shelters.

Valarie mentioned that a neighbor had seen kittens near her intersection, so I checked out the area but didn't find any...yet. There are lots of places to hide under these old cars.

I stoppped at the neighbor who is overrun with kittens to leave food and list of the prices for spay/neuter. No one was home when I arrived, but a gentleman drove up while I was there and I told him I could get the males done for $20 and the females for $35. They have internet, so hopefully they will email me when they are ready to go.

This is what a "feral" cat should look like. Cuddling in on a bed on a porch, fixed, vaccinated, and fed.

Back to the party. It's a long chilly walk back up to the top of the hill, but there are friends and biiiiiigggggg fire.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Best birthday present ever....

Gunsmoke and Billee have been adopted!

(Birthday's not until Monday, but so what!)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Vet trip update

Guess who's off to the vet to get fixed? Kittens ya'll sent in your hard-earned donations for. Thanks!!!! In a big, big, way. Bebe and Ella are tamed and ready for spays tomorrow. Nancy's feral "Little Orange" (great big orange is what I'd call him) is also going. Then Friday, Charlie, Whiffen and Dustin(foster names: Oreo and ...I forget again, Nancy), and hopefully Dude (i.e. Runs-With-Sissors) will get done.

Then other than the little guys who are off to stay with Annette to grow up, everyone here is done. There are still three adopted kittens left unneutered that I need to follow up on.

And the street cats. Yes, the remaining street cats. There are cats in Swartwood, cats at Valarie's, cats at the neighbors, a kitten on Krumtown Road, and a number of emails that I just haven't even answered yet.

Cortland SPCA Update

They are doing a great job keeping their website updated.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I've lost the camera...

...just in case you were wondering why the photo-blog is a word-blog recently. Drat it all. Mark is going to bring home a borrowed camera so I can photograph the growing kittens for the Petfinder site and send nicer photos to people who have inquired about cats.

That's the only problem with hauling a camera everywhere as a blog-prop, including under bushes. Losing it is a very real possibility. I have a second camera, but it saves to a floppy disk, and I don't have a floppy drive any longer, since lightning struck the office.

I've been wandering about in a daze for over a week, hoping I'll come across it. I may yet.

Cat shelter for those with a checkbook

Ain't this pretty?. $200 for the largest model. They should stick a second door on the other side, and sell a painted model as a cat shelter for those folks who want their outdoor cat or back porch feral to have a snug place to live.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Cortland SPCA still needs help.

Judy reports:
It's Sunday night, and I've just returned from volunteering at the Cortland County facility. It is a shocking sight - you know 275 cats is a lot, but when you see them all in cages, in long rows, in stacks of 2 and 3, you really get the complete picture. It felt very much like the Best Friends facility in MS, after the hurricane. Hundreds of cats. Please keep blogging about this, if you can. They are going to need volunteers for a long time to come.

Information about volunteering can be found on the Cortland SPCA website, It has been updated, and is heartbreaking.

Shelters did get painted...

...and thank you to Jackie, who drove all the way from Hornell, and Nancy, who always seems to be ready when something needs building or painting. We brought in one new shelter (that still needs the hinges and roofing material). Jackie painted the feeding station and Nancy gave the new shelter another coat of paint. I cleaned the old straw out of the existing shelters, but only painted the outside, because the insides were damp from this awful wet weather we've had all season, and need to dry out without insulation board and straw in them. The shelter that is farthest down the channel had clearly been submerged by flooding. I'm sure the cats will appreciate a clean, dry space!

We had an enjoyable lunch at Garcia's, and I highly recommend the place. It's very good Mexican food, at a decent price. The vegetarian options were great. I've never had a spinach or a potato burrito, but I risked it, and they were excellent.

The staff at Wickes were, as usual, wonderful. All in all, it was a great day full of great people. I'll be going back to paint the inside of the two remaining shelters, which shouldn't take long, and put the hinges and roofing material on the new shelter. Then in October, the cats will all be trapped, flea-treated, and get their booster shots. All ready for another few years of life on the wild side.

Thank you to everyone else who offered, who would have been able to make it on alternate weekends!

September 11

It's foolish to say "never forget," as I doubt any of us ever will, however, it's always important to say take time to remember. This site is tribute to rescue dogs and their handlers, but it's impossible to ignore the human sacrifice that day.

Note: there is music, so if you are work, turn the speakers down. If you are aren't, or have a surfing-friendly office, turn them on.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Zeke works on his telepathic powers (adopter photo)

"...more will bring me more treats..."

(You want to know how I know Zeke got a great home? The .jpg from the adopter was titled "My boys.")

Friday, September 08, 2006

Shelter Painting

Whoops! With my furball Ivan requiring veterinary attention, I have lapsed in my communication. It looks like the weather for tomorrow is sun in the morning and storms in the afternoon, so I am going to go ahead and say "it's a go" for shelter painting. Let's say 11:00 am. If you can make it to Wickes Lumber on Route 13 Ithaca tomorrow, September 9, let me know at and I'll send more info and directions to those who need it.

This will be a short painting project right on site where the cats live, with lunch afterward next door at Garcia's. We don't need a ton of folks, so if you can't make it, don't feel badly!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Cortland Co. SPCA needs help caring for seized cats

The Cortland County SPCA has found itself caring for almost 300 cats, seized in a hoarding investigation. The cats are temporarily being housed at the old firehouse in Cortlandville on Route 281, across from the discount beverage store, just past the A&W (if you are coming from the direction of Ithaca).

They desperately need volunteer help, cleaning cages and medicating cats. The number to call is 758-5424, however, if you are experienced with cats and can follow directions easily and can get straight to work, I understand you can go right down to the old firehouse and start helping anytime during daytime hours.

Kitten Kindergarten

Via Dogma.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Who says they aren't doing good feral cat research?

Oh. My. Go(sh). This is hilarious, fascinating, and these are some darned handsome feral cats. Ten minutes long, however.

Printer, free to good home.

First dibs to my local readers, one HP DeskJet 812C inkjet printer. You'll have to find and download the printer driver from the internet because I do not have the software, although I'll look for it. If there are no takers I will Freecycle it. It's been in my office unhooked for about a year, and I need to get it gone to set Ivan's cage up in my office.

Twelve Hundred Dollars.

Twelve. Hundred. Dollars.
Guess which vet I had to go to?

Post-note: Ivan is home, and his bill is now approximately $600 because he will not be hospitalized for three days.

My own vet, bless her soul, picked up the phone when I started leaving a message on her machine at her home this morning seeking guidance. I love my vet.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Why does this ALWAYS happen on a holiday!!!

My favorite personal cat Ivan has a urinary blockage. On SATURDAY. On LABOR DAY WEEKEND. $%#@$!!!!!!

My vet is closed so I will have to use an emergency vet. Locally, one of our emergency options is excellent (much $$$ but oh well). The other, I really really really do not want to use. They will charge me 300% more than any other vet, will subject him to tons of tests, tons of handling, and will insist on hospitalizing him instead of just catherizing him and sending him home with me.

Please, please let the good vet be available.

Poor Ivan. He is just peeing drops. It's not bloody, so there's probably little luck that it's just a urinary tract infection, although I've got him on antibiotics. He's been getting into the kitten chow for the past few weeks, so you have to bet he's got a urinary blockage.

And to think I yelled at him for dribbling on my backpack today. He wasn't being obnoxious or upset about kittens. He's in misery and can't pee.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Hoping for a near miss

graphic from

See where the eastern edge of the storm path crosses the NY boundary from PA? That's where we are. So maybe poor Owego will miss the brunt of this storm, after just barely drying out from the last one.