Sunday, December 31, 2006

Here's the new cage.

I actually got it about three weeks ago. The next one should be arriving any day, since my debit card has been charged. I've ordered a stand for this one. The only thing I don't like about it is that it's so close to the floor. Once Thomas is over his sniffles this will get moved upstairs. Right now it's in the downstairs/workshop of the barn.

Got him!

I was hauling cat litter outside after cleaning the upstairs boxes and heard the distinctive "thump" of a cat hitting the porch floor, so I dropped the cat litter bags inside the kitchen and looked out to see Handsome here staring at me from the porch stairs. He'd come up to check out Nick's bowl. So I reached out on the porch and grabbed the bowl, filled it inside, and took it out carefully. Handsome didn't run away. When I held the bowl out to him he meowed. I set it down and he walked over and began to eat. He hissed when I petted him, but pushed up against me, so it apparently was a scared hiss.

Of course I didn't have a crate in the house so I quietly walked out to the barn, got a crate, went out to the trap I had said, got the bowl of tuna, and went up on the porch. He didn't run away. I set the tuna down and he immediately abandoned the dry food for it. I put the tuna in the crate, and in he went. He freaked a bit after finished in the tuna, but he's doing fine in a cage in the downstairs of the cat facility.

Another adult cat! I guess it's time to go gang-busters on adoptions.

Drove up the Van Etten hill to feed the mystery cat...

I left more food on the porch. The bowl was empty and had been tipped over. Raccoons, probably.

The road up...

Grouse tracks above...

This looks like cat tracks to me, above

Coyote or dog tracks...

Raccoon. BIG raccoon.

I still don't have any permission to be here, so setting traps is not an option. And the cat is supposed to be friendly, so if I can find him, I can just pick him up and post flyers at all the mailboxes up and down the road.

I have to say, it was reassuring to see snow SOMEWHERE in Tioga County. It's like spring here.

Dear Mr/Ms Cat Dumper

You piss me off. I don't have the time or space for Angel, his apparent brother here, or the black and white cat you dumped on me. I can't BELIEVE this. I came home from feeding the cats out in Van Etten to find this fellow. At first I thought it was Angel because he looks just like him and meows pathetically like Angel too. But no, this guy is a brown tiger and Angel is an orange tiger. And two days ago we saw a black and white cat getting ready to pounce Nick, whom we called in. That cat ran away when I went outside. This cat acted (like Angel) like he wanted to be petted, but walked away when I got close.

This is a crime, people. This is a year in jail or $1000 fine if I get a hold of you. If anyone in Spencer knows someone who USED to own a cat like this, and two others, and now no longer does, feel free to leave an anonymous comment on how I might get a hold of you. I promise to keep any information confidential.

I have been a lazy, whining, unproductive creature.

And you are about to be treated to the most mundane blogging you've experienced in your life.

I've had a cold. Not a serious cold. A pain-in-the-neck-but-absolutely-no-reason -why-you-can't-function cold. I've had this thing for three weeks now. I assume it originally started out as a cold and now I've either caught a second one, or am dealing with a sinus infection. La-de-dah. Not a big deal.

However, I literally haven't done much of anything in three weeks. Oh, I've taken care of the cats of course, and got my Christmas responsibilities done (barely). But basically I've been lying on the couch in a torpor, getting progressively less and less productive, until the disease is actually this lack of enthusiasm for getting anything done, rather than this cold whose only real limitation upon me is that I need to be ready access to a box of Puffs Plus.

Mark caught the same cold, and did that stop him from making a pork chop dinner two nights ago, bringing in wood, and even MOPPING FLOORS yesterday? No indeed.

So I have dragged myself off the couch and am now determined to keep moving all day. Unfortunately, the cats have decided to help me, and you know how that goes:

So throughout the day I'll be posting my progress. That's what I meant by mundane. :)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas and a very happy holiday season... you all, from Gunsmoke and all the rest of the cats who came through Wildrun this year. Thank you for all your help and support, and we wish you a peaceful and content New Year.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Every winter brings an "abandoned house" scenario.

I still have people that I've been helping who haven't had their colonies entirely dealt with, and for that reason I try to avoid new emergencies. Especially when I have people like Valarie and Nancy and Dawn who have already invested so much in getting their cats taken care of.

So, knowing I shouldn't add another case to the list, I headed out to feed some abandoned cats at a house out in Van Etten that is for sale. Allegedly, cats were left behind to "take care of the mice" almost a year ago. Info is coming to me third hand through a concerned person, so finally you realize you just have to go out in person to see what is going on and can't waffle any longer.

When I turned onto the road I realized there was potential for future trouble. I can make it up this road now, but I won't be able to once snow falls. It was one and a half miles of dirt road, up, up,up. Even with the road dry I gunned it as fast as I could to be sure I could get through any slushy spots. Luckily the road was well maintained all the way up. Remarkably well-maintained.

The house was clearly marked. I didn't find any cats but I did find bowls to feed them. So I left food and will try to reach the realtor who is dealing with this property to find out what's up and when cats were last seen.

The problem with cases of this type is that often no one is willing to take responsibility (other than people who shouldn't need to take responsibility) for these animals, or there are no owners to sign them over. If snow socks them in, they will be nearly impossible to feed.

The foundation is in poor condition and if there are cats, they can get into the basement easily at least.

There must have been some major landowner disputes up here, because I've never seen 2x3 "Posted" signed before, or "No Parking" signs along a rural road. There's obviously a history here I'm not privy to. But the cats don't care, so neither do I. Hopefully we can soon figure out what' up...before it snows.

Yes, I know the cover dog of the "Unexpected Pitbull" personally...

Yes, I am a shameless name-dropper!

Hey Mojo! Thanks for the calendar! The Unexpected Pitbull calendar can be ordered at and all proceeds benefit The Liberty Humane Society. Looking forward to giving you a big hug the next time I see you, Moj!

If you know any bully buddies who would be interested in the calendar, please pass this on!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Adopter photos, Marvin and Gunsmoke

I think Gunsmoke just really likes dogs. Maybe he thinks he is one?

I have such a headcold, I can't get much of anything done. Apols for the light blogging.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

How do I get this bleeping Yahoo toolbar off my computer?

I did not want it. I did not ask for it. It wiped out all my work tabs. I am PEEVED. I'm going to click around to see how to get rid of it, but if anyone knows, please comment.

Post-note. I got the bleeping thing off, but all of my bookmarks are totally gone, including bookmarks from a work project I was working on. It looks like some automatic update wiped them out. Damn!!!

Post-note Monday a.m. The Yahoo toolbar has returned twice, even after I reset and locked my toolbar last night. This morning it had reappeared, but my bookmarks and the Google toolbar I had before were back, along with my normal work tabs. So I once again deleted the Yahoo toolbar. We'll see what happens. This appears to be a case of Warring Computer Automatic Updates.

Anyone local who would like these two crates or this plastic container, let me know. Tomorrow they are going out by the road with a free sign on them. They are the heavy airline type. Doors are rusted, plastic is discolored, but they are in good shape. They just aren't nice enough looking for off-site adoption use and are too heavy for everyday use.

Warning: they look better in this photo than they are in real life. They are from my wildlife control days.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Well, Dad is now in skilled nursing...

I just wrote a long post and deleted it. I think I'll wait until my concerns and frustrations fade. But at least this place seems nice...and far easier to get in and out of to visit him than the last place. $6200 a month though. God. That's almost $3000 more a month than his previous facility. I'm sure the care is worth it. There is about four times the staff here than his other facility. Much more activity. Actual real-time TV and news (instead of just classic movies from the 50's and 60's on a VCR)and many, many visitors coming and going. Still...a tiny bed in half a room, a stand with three drawers, and a stand for a TV. Cable is only $5 a month, so I guess we'll get him a TV of his own, and we'll need to do something to make that half-a-room look better. Some of the other rooms look rather homey. He also won't be locked out of his own room all day. I hated that at the other place.


Please send good thoughts to Marvin...

Marvin is the beloved dog of Donna, who has provided so much care for our cats here at Wildrun, and who adopted Gunsmoke. Marvin has just been diagnosed with bladder cancer. If anyone reading has experience with bladder cancer in dogs, please send an email to info at americancat dot net, and I'll forward your email onto Donna. She could use all the feedback she can get.

And thank you as well for this....

It helps a lot to know you all are checking in!

(December is of course low, because December isn't over yet).

Serious upgrades for the holidays...

In addition to an outpouring of friendship, we received several large monetary gifts around the time of the holiday party. I had just purchased this new cage a few weeks ago:

I really like the new cage. It's roomy, professional looking, and Thomas seems happy in it (he's the current resident).

$700 in holiday donations ($500 from M., $100 from D. and N., and $100 via the Amazon link from my wonderful blog readers)have enabled me to order a stand for the cage up above (it sits too low to the ground; I like to have my cats up where they can see people) plus this second new cage:

I can't begin to thank everyone enough for their help and trust. My wire cages are getting older, and I have two on loan that I need to return to their owners this weekend. The wire dog cages are still great for ferals, but aren't the best for kittens and friendly cats. I'm looking forward to the arrival of this second cage, and hope to add at least two more before the spring rush.

In addition, the cats got two beautiful beds, lots of toys, some bowls, a pile of cats toys from georg (which I must photograph and blog for effect; many of her toys also went home as gifts to party attendees), prayer flags for the cat garden, a donation to our vet fund a few weeks ago, and the joy of visitation for the cats. A. and L. brought us organic potatos (hey, we gotta eat too!) and A. is up on the hill now helping Mark bring in wood for winter heat in the house.

The cats were pooped out by all the attention and plenty happy by the end of the day, and the kittens all seem so much more laid back now.

Thank you again for the best Christmas gifts ever!

Much love from the cats of Wildrun.

The Conway Area Humane Society... doing just a lovely job with their blog. I think you'll agree. Maybe The Man With The Camera has a friend near Spencer? What beautiful photographs!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Party pictures

First off, a huge thanks goes out to Martha, Finger Lakes winemaker, who hosts our downstairs party every year with wines she handpicks from wineries across our lakes.

Then there are, of course, our sweet cats, both the new, and the long-termers. Kid (from the tunnels under Bailey Hall at Cornell) says "Hey, welcome to the cat barn!"

Then there are the gift-givers. The little cat tree had all sorts of presents this year (there would be more in the picture, but we took the beds and two of the cat hammocks right up to the cats!)

And then there were our artistic friends, who jumped into making prayer flags for the cat garden. A huge thank-you goes to georg (fellow blogger), who had read on my blog that I planned to have materials out for these flags. I'm not the most organized person in the world, and my plans are sometimes bigger than reality. However, I DID have the materials...and georg cut the fabric and got things going so we have a many yards of memory flags to hang. I'll be sure to post them once they are hung (I'll post a photo of the many cat toys georg brought us, too...)

And then Thomas, who was in quarentine (and therefore found himself in the Party Zone downstairs) turned out to LOooooove strangers. Look at this guy! Don't you need him for your party ice-breaker? (Yes, he is a big white former-tom with a huge black spot on his butt).

We had around 35 visitors, with many staying for hours. It means more than you can imagine to have so many people stop by to visit. Really, it sustains us through the entire year! We had people here right at 1:00 when the doors opened, up until 11:00 pm when the last friends wandered home.

Kitty Corn says "I know this is a lousy shot, but every time they opened the top of my cage, I popped out of my new bed. Isn't it cool? Thanks, Sally!

Jack Luther says "There's nothing left but writing the thank-you notes!" (I'd say "paying the bills" but having found ourselves seriously in debt twice in 20years, we are now a cash-and-kitty only program, so the bills are already paid!)

Thanks everyone! It was a wonderful time. It was great to see new faces, as well as the people who come faithfully every year. For those who could not make it, we hope to see you next time!

More to come, because I haven't had a chance to thank people properly, but I didn't want to wait longer.

This year I got "downstairs photos." Last year I got "upstairs photos" and here they are!

Here's Billee...

Billee needs a home. I haven't been able to get a really good shot of her yet. She looks so stodgy here, and she's such a pretty girl, and she has pretty little ear tufts that don't show up here either. I'll have to get a lighter background. She's the "perfect" cat. Travels like a sweetheart, walks in a harness, gets along with other cats, and plays, plays, plays. She's a bit intimidated by our house cats (because with Luther Jack in the house already, they really are NOT pleased by another visitor) but is slowly fitting in. I need to get some good photos and get her up on Petfinder.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

And how about...

Dylan the kitten??

Here's Dylan/Elvis, all grown up:

What a handsome fellow. It's hard to believe so much time has gone by already! Thanks, Alice, for sending their photos along (see also below). They obviously have the run of your life.

Kittens grow up. Adopter photos:

Remember Lulu?

Well, she's a big kitty now! And she has the much classier name of Darla:

Life in the shelter

Be sure to watch and listen to the slide show, by clicking on the link toward the bottom.

Oh crap. If you go back a second time they want you to register. Sorry about that.

Arthur and Mabel...adopter photos...

Ernie and Bertie (OK, I was hurting for names, OK?) are growing up, and are now Arthur and Mabel in their new home. Can they tell them apart, I wonder?

They look like lucky kittens to me! Volunteers, remember the three black and white kittens downstairs this summer. These are the first two who were adopted at the Coffee and Kittens. Lara writes:

Just wanted to send some pics of Arthur and Mabel (formerly Ernie and
Bertie). We love them immensely and can't imagine life without them!
Thanks again!

Sorry, still haven't posted...

A coworker sent this to me Very beautiful. Very I thought I would share in case anyone else needs help getting in the holiday spirit.

The computer generated graphics are of course painful. Don't look. (Post-note: hmmm, sometimes graphics, sometimes none. If you're lucky, you'll get none).

If you've got good speakers, turn them up, and close your eyes.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I cannot help...

...but compare my dad to a needy cat. I know that sounds sad, but as I sat there with him in the emergency room, it's all I could think. Dad left NY when I was a pre-teen. His parents arranged for me to fly down to Florida to see him once when I was a sophomore in college (he was visiting them from Alaska). He flew we three sisters and my nephew Josh out for separate visits when we (his children) were in our thirties. He came out seven years ago to provide us all with his will (we are sure then he knew he had Alzheimers) and he gave me away at my wedding in 2000. Then in 2005, after 30 years and four visits, we learned Dad was in the intermediate stages of Alzheimers, and his wonderful sister, with whom he had lived since moving to Alaska, could no longer care for him. Dad was coming back to NYS.

He's a very kind person. Thank goodness. He is not impatient, or angry, or overly fretful. The horror stories they spread about Alzheimers...he has not been one of them. Well, of course he has. He has lost himself. But at least he has not lost his kindness.

He just wasn't cut out to be a father. And it appears I'm not cut out to be a daughter. I love my father for the kind person he is...not because he's my father. Because he wasn't, you know. He has always been a very kind stranger to me. When the hospital staff kept referring to me as his daughter, I kept thinking "No, daughters would be crying right now. They would be arguing about care. Asking countless questions. He's just a kind man, and I'm the kind woman he gave life to. That's all." They must have wondered why I was so calm.

I am also lucky (and so is he) that my two sisters also care and look in on him, and worry about him. It would be easy to be angry or turn away. But no one has. Not one person. On one hand he is very lucky. On the other hand, he has been incredibly unlucky. No one deserves Alzheimer's. (No one deserves cancar. No one deserves to be involved in car accident). But everyone cares. I don't know how much that helps him, but I do know how much it helps me. When I started out this morning, Mark offered to come with me. Just something like that, one sentence, is like a gift. You know?

As I was holding Dad's hands, seeing him lost in the disease, but still kind, still able to say "yes" and "no" to be able to express his preferences and needs (but, for the first time, I don't think he knew me) all I could think about were the lost cats that come into our lives that it would be thoughtless and cruel to turn away. His hands are very soft but still strong, and I could not but think of those cats who smack at you...and never use their claws. As I fed him chicken soup with a spoon, and encouraged him to drink apple juice with a straw, I could not help but think of kittens I've bottlefed. "Oh, you only want a little? That's OK. We'll try again in a minute or two, and it will be alright..."

I've never had kids, so providing physical care for a human is new to me. When the nurse came by and said "I'll bring you some soup and juice for you to feed to him" I very nearly panicked. But he was easy to care for in that small way. Far too easy.

And I thought, when I drove to the hospital--just as I think when I drive out to help in a response to help kittens running around some forsaken place in the snow---that I don't want him to suffer. I don't want him to be scared. And that is something you sometimes can't fix. Creatures suffer. Creatures are afraid. Humans as well as animals.

Dad is shut away in a nice place, like my cats are shut away in their little cat facility. It's nice enough. The food is good. There are kind people. Every care is attended to. But it's not home. And the people who are there are not people who love you as a special individual.

It's not home.

It's just not home.

Sorry I haven't posted party pictures...

...but the phone rang this morning and it was Dad's Alzheimers-care assisted living complex. He was taken to the hospital for a small seizure, so it was off to the hospital to see how he is doing. If any family is reading this, he appears to be OK, however it is so sad to see him a shadow of his former self, lying all alone in an emergency room berth. The people at Lourdes Hospital are wonderful and kind. He's staying the night, at the least.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Party today!

Well, we're almost geared up for the party today. Ivan appreciates having his very own Christmas tree near his food bowl. If you decide at the last minute to come, and we know who you are--but you haven't RSVP'd--come on out! Looks like we have about forty "we can make its," which is great. We look forward to seeing those who can join us today. To the rest, have a beautiful weekend!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Adopter photos before bedtime

I can't resist posting this shot I just found in my email before I shut the computer down for the night. Goodnight Tyco! Glad you got a great home!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Deck the Halls with Furry Felines

The only reason I have parties is so I'll clean the house.

(No, really, it's because I want to see you all, but it IS a good excuse to clean the house).

It also is a good time to throw things out. Mark says he's being brutal about what he's tossing. I'm tossing more things from the cat facility than the house, but neither one of us is looking at the pile the other person is tossing. What we don't know, won't hurt us.

Angel the cat is back. He's been MIA for almost a week and a half now. I almost tripped over him just now as I came out of the cat facility after cleaning the inside of the cupboards. I put food out for him both by the facility door, and on our porch. I need to trap him but gosh, I have no place to PUT him. He meows and meows, although still won't let me touch him. Obviously he's tame. And what a fuzzball.

While cleaning out the cat facility cupboards, I got brutal again. Three open tubes of laxatone? Topical flea treatment someone gave to me probably years ago, with no date? It was time to look at things and ask myself "Would I even use this in an emergency?" If the answer was "Eeeew," then out it went. Then there are the hundreds of little envelopes in case medications need to go home with cats. I adopt out maybe 50 cats a year, tops, and maybe five of those have gone home with meds. I kept 50 envelopes and tossed the rest before they scattered all over the cupboard again. Space is limited.

The cats enjoy having me up there cleaning. I put the oil-filled heater in the big cat room in the tall cage today so they can't tip it over. They'll enjoy that again once they realize they can get on top on the cage and bake in the heat. Of course, the heat lamp is also on and they bake under that, too.

We are spending far too much on electricity to keep cats warm, unfortunately. Billee is in the house since she was returned by her previous adopter, and Ivan picks on her, so I have to shut her in the Great Room at night, which we normally don't heat in the winter. I can't put her in an unheated room, so the heat's on in there. That's a pretty darned big room for one cat. (Although we open it up for Christmas, so I can tell myself the heats really on for the holidays). And of course the cat facility is heated with electric. Thomas the white cat is downstairs where there is no heat, however he's got a heating pad which he thinks is pretty cool. More electricity. Yikes. I don't want to see the bill this month.

We've got quite a few RSVPs for the holiday party! I'm thinking of also having an adoption open house on Sunday (coffee only) since the place will be all spiffed up and I MUST get some of these ultra friendly cats in homes!!!!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

I was actually going to blog about... we FINALLY got our plumbing fixed so the shower is a real shower instead of a weak snizzle, and how we FINALLY joined the 21st century middling middle class and got a dishwasher...

...and then I stumbled across this.

Via nio's blog

Blog Pound kittens have homes...

...Pictures here (Note: you know you have been neglecting your blogging when you suddenly forget the html for a link!)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The holiday party is on for next Saturday, December 9

As I try to fit too much stuff into this weekend, I figured I should post that the holiday part IS ON for this coming Saturday. I considered booting it back another weekend, however too many people have already indicated they have it on their calendars.

We'll open up the decorated cat facility at 1:00 pm. There will be food and drink, and of course many cats to visit. The house is open, and things usually move inside there around 5:00 pm (although the house is open all day) for a potluck that runs until late into the evening. You do not have to bring food to attend the potluck!

Some people bring presents for the cats. If you do, please note we had a litter of kittens come in with ringworm. They were moved to a foster home as soon as this was noticed, but we had to throw everything out "just in case." So cat toys, old clean towels, baby food (always baby food), Purina kitten chow (don't bring adult cat food; we are all set), human-bed pillows (we threw ours out--do yours need replacing? Bring us your old ones), and washable cat beds are always appreciated. Gifts are NOT required. This is a thank-you party for you!

More info to follow! RSVP and Email for directions