Thursday, August 31, 2006

What to do for National Feral Cat Day?

I was sitting here wondering what to do for National Feral Cat Day.

Two years ago we had a great (if not perfectly planned) shelter building party. Thank goodness Nancy and Tom brought Real Tools and I summoned up the bravery to turn on Mark's table saw, because we knew we would get supplies for so many shelters? We churned out 15 that day.

With so many kittens still needing adoption, I don't really have time for another shelter-building event, so I looked closely at what really needs to be done.

And what really needs to be done is revaccination. I've got cats out their in colonies who need their rabies boosters, so they'll be set for another three years.

So I took off half days on October 10, 11, 12, 13 so I can trap cats in the evening, hold them overnight, take them to the vet bright and squirrelly the next day, get their vaccination (right in the trap) and re-release them that morning. Then I can wash the traps if needed and re-set them the next night. I'll pre-bait the week ahead, so the cats are used to the traps.

Target colonies will be the Fast Food Ferals (6 cats?) and the Poultry Farm (42 cats). This comes out to about $240, which is pretty cheap for 48 rabies shots. I'm sure there will be a few cats in there without eartips who I will need to hold onto for spay/neuter, but I don't expect a flood of them.

It's something that needs to be done, and it would make the health department very very happy. I'll need to give my vet a heads up so they can order some extra rabies vaccines, as I'm sure they don't normally give that many in a four day stretch!

I'll also get topical flea treatment (Revolution) from my vet, so the cats can all be treated for fleas, worms, and earmites.

I suppose that's a bit of a cop-out---doing something that already needs to be done in honor of Feral Cat Day, instead of something extra. But if that's what it takes to give me the boot in the butt to get it done, so be it!

This means I'm CALLING IN MY TRAPS! I'll need them by the first week in October, so anyone who has any, please use them to trap whomever needs trapping during September. I think I have some as far away and New Jersey!

BTW, Alley Cat Allies has a very very nice poster this year. I think I'll order more, and I may get mine framed for the cat facility. I'm a poster snob, and usually don't like what major organizations come up with because they are often too cute or trendy. ACA, of course, has a subject (adult ferals) that doesn't really lend itself to "cute." Thank goodness.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More adopter photos! Cassie and Marbles (Casper)

Valarie, who rescued them, sends the above photos she received, and the note that came with them from their adopter:
"Just thought I would drop you a quick line to let you know how the kitties are doing.

Marbles is full of it. I was telling Michele the other day, he was chasing Cassie up & over everything.

The other night they were up on our bed trying to get the chain that is on the ceiling fan, one of them went to jump for it, and jumped right off the end of the bed. They both get along really good with Lucky our Manx.

Stephen & Michael our boys got the kitties some treats, so every night before bed, they all get 2 treats. Michael will shake the can, and the elephants come running down the stairs. I was telling Michele that Cassie likes to get in the shower with you, then chase the water drips on the sides when you are finished showering.

Sure looks like they are fitting right in! Here's an earlier post on them.

Adopter picture!

This is little Zoey, from one of the first litters this summer. Gretchen, who visits the facility from her job during her lunch hour, adopted her. Zoey is the teeny tinest thing, with classic tabby swirls.

Here is a kitten picture:

I wonder what she will weigh when she's an adult?

Oh, I forgot she was one of the Travelin' Kittens so there are even more photos of her.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Painting shelters

I promise I will post photos tomorrow (Wed). Promise!

UPDATE: Looks like we will be getting hit by the remnents of Ernesto on Saturday, so I am tentatively postponing shelter painting to Saturday, September 9.

Thank you for the FIVE offers to help paint shelters. I'm will check the weather report. The chosen date will be the first sunny Saturday. If this Saturday is sunny, that will be it. 10:30 a.m. I'll swing by the Comfort Inn to see if it would be OK to park there, as Wickes doesn't have much space.

If it's supposed to rain this Saturday, we'll aim for next Saturday. I don't want to put it off. There is just too much to do before winter hits, and everyone else is probably going to get pretty busy too.

I will also be setting the date for this year's holiday open house. That's the snowy day in November or December when we throw the house and cat facility open to friends and neighbors (RSVP's required--and volunteers and adopters ARE friends) and have wine tasting in the downstairs of the barn. Yes, believe it or not (for those of you who are new to the barn) the downstairs spiffs up OK, and the cats really seem to enjoy the event. We usually end up with 40 to 50 visitors. Owego is a great place to do some Christmas shopping in the River Row shops, if you want to hit our place early or late and head on down there for a few hours.

If fact, having the open house is the best way incentive for me to clean up to be ready for the follow spring.

We have a potluck afterwards, and we do have a guest room (and a cabin on the hill!) if anyone wants to trek in from a distance and needs a place to stay.

And National Feral Cat Day is October 16. What should we do?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Here we go:

(Above photo appears on Flickr, here.

Tropical Storm Ernesto. Let's hope Ernesto putters out.

And yes, it has been a year since Hurricane Katrina. Here's a article about how adopted Katrina pets are doing locally a year later. It's a pity they don't have the photos on line that were in the print copy.

Flooding everywhere.

Last night I was on the phone with my aunt in Alaska, making some arrangements on paperwork for my father (who recently moved here from Alaska, and suffers from Alzheimers). She said Alaska has been enduring heavy rains for months now. She easily can't get to her cabin on Nancy Lake, because the water is too high on the lake to get to their boat. Their little cabin, which my father loved to work on, is higher up on the hillside, and should be safe. But others, right on the shore, may be flooded.

I did a bit of Googling and found this article on flooding in the the Willow and Nancy Lake area. Yikes.
Flooding and mudslides brought on by heavy rain closed the main highway and rail line between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
For those of you familiar with the highway system in Alaska, it's not like there's an abundance of highways between Anchorage and Fairbanks! This is it, folks!

There is so much suffering due to the recent flooding across the United States. So many people lost their homes, or had homes severely damaged, in the Susquehanna Valley. In Alaska, the melting of permafrost will be disasterous. Are these rains just a regular cycle, or evidence of global warming? Sense would indicate: who cares. Treat it as global warming. Prepare and repair for the worst-case scenario.

When I went to feed the Fast Food Ferals after the last flood, I was shocked to see how high the water had been over their little foot bridge. I'm not sure if you can tell from the photo, but the mud on the leaves of the shrubs and the dead grass seems to illustrate that the water was over the banks and into the parking lot of the restaurant next door.

Each local disaster brings a sizeable creep in our property taxes--they predict another hike this year. So while we are high and dry on our hillside, as a community we still pay for the misfortune of our neighbors. We are taking a serious look at our finances, since the mortagage we could afford when we purchased our place six years ago is now taking a larger bite out of our income.

It is interesting how affluence is reflected in the property you keep. As owners of 58 acres, we have a sizeable yard. Mark also would mow the area across the road where the barn and cat facility are, with wide expanses of gorgeous green lawn. It made the farm look much neater, and I believe it slowed traffic, too, since the effect is almost parklike, with both sides of the road mowed back.

We can no longer justify the gas to maintain this, so that lawn will be returning to field. We probably should have just knocked it down twice a year with the tractor anyway but...well...we had the money, so we mowed the lawn.

There you go. The root of waste. Have it. Spend it.

Can you eat a lawn? No.

We are taking a closer look at where we spend money (including the cats), and where we waste resources. I expect there will be changes in our lifestyle over the next year. Already this year we are eating and saving more food from Mark's garden. Mark hopes next year to raise and preserve quite a bit.

Delegation is great...

...but it doesn't relieve you of ALL responsibilities. I have volunteers who are feeding my Fast Food Ferals. I would stop by to refill the food can once a week or so. The landowner was mowing the strip of land he has lent us to feed and shelter the cats. But the large equipment couldn't get in close around the shelters. By midsummer, it was starting to look pretty shabby.

So two weekends ago I finally loaded up the mower in the back of my truck and went in to give it a good clean up. I also posted a new sign on the feeding station since the old one had blown off.

The shelters could use a paint job. Anyone interested in spending a Saturday morning painting shelters, then going over to the new Mexican restaurant for lunch? Once the shelters have dried (after lunch) we can add some flea powder and new straw for the winter. There are only three, so it shouldn't take too long.

My weekend volunteers have moved to Boston, so I've been feeding on Saturday and Sunday. It's nice to actually get to see the cats again. For awhile, I saw no one, and I began to wonder if I were feeding Science Diet to raccoons. But two weeks ago I saw Vannie, and yesterday I saw Burma.

They will be five years old in December.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

And when someone else does the rescuing...

...we like that too. Here is a kitten rescued today from a municipal pool in New Jersey by a lifeguard (who just got her first car yesterday and baptized it with animal rescue--way to go!). With phone encouragement from my boss, she lured the little guy into a cat crate and now he's safe and warm, chowing down on kitten chow in my boss's bathroom.

How's that for 21st century rescue education? The cell phone is the means for relaying info, and also takes a picture of the kitten. But it will always take a caring person (or two) to scoop that kitten up to safety and find him a home!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Knuckles is Gnocchi!

We always love it when we get pictures in the mail. Knuckles has a great home and has been re-named Gnocchi. (Here is the very first post on Gnocchi's radial hypoplasia). We sent along Violet as a "chew-toy" kitten, and it looks like T and G will adopt her too! (No, this wasn't intended as a sneaky ploy on our part...single kittens with attitude can grow up very bitey if they don't have a kitten to play with. We've seen that with past "singles." More on that later with little Dude).

Isn't he a handsome fellow? You wouldn't even know he has a problem, except the vet showed me how he has limited ability to bend his wrists backwards. Other than that, he's a 90 mph kitty.

Here is Violet cuddling up with one of the big boys. Violet is probably the sweetest kitten ever, and the queen of the "nearly silent meow."

Actually, perhaps that orange "fellow" isn't a fellow after all. I've been striking out this year on determining the sex of kittens, so I'd better not assume that big and orange equals male.

We still have Esperanza, Gnocchi's mom. Her Petfinder page is here. She is a hoot and a half. She now has a gorgeous shining coat, plays like a kitten, and after a canine tooth extraction, her tongue sticks out. I think she uses the missing tooth to give the world a raspberry on a regular basis.

Without a doubt...


Carnival of the Cats... up, at Red Peonies.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A candle for cats - National Homeless Animals Day

Today is National Homeless Animal's Day and candlelight vigils are being held across the nation for animals in need. Not just cats!

So we are beginning a vigil here on this blog as well, in solidarity with shelters and organizations who are out there on this rainy New York night, holding up candles to remind us all there is more left to be done.

I'll send this off to the Carnival of the Cats on Sunday. Please forward far and wide, to anyone you know who has a blog, and I'll add them here if they send a link to their candlelight vigil post for National Homeless Animals Day. If you don't have a candle, post a photo of your rescued pet, or a story of a homeless pet that has touched you.

Georg has lamps lit in honor the homeless at Running Scared. Kenya Dog and Sassy stand guard.

Rooney and a virtual candle tread along the Bridalpath (Must add these new blogs to the blogroll!)

A small flame burns brightly at the House of the (Mostly) Black Cats! Ana also has a tribute photo on the (Mostly) Black Cats blog.

A very gorgeous Maggie sends her flame from Autumn's Meadow You can see Maggie's post again (and see Maggie grow up!) at a sister blog Maggie and Molly.

Phoenix shares the history of all the rescued pets at The Blogpound

Derek is afraid of fire, so there are no candles at Draw Circles. Instead Derek got his own picture posted, and Carrie made a donation to the Tulsa SPCA.

With eyes like these, Squooshable doesn't need a candle.

Still more to come! Once you get your post up, leave a URL in the comment below and I'll get you up here. Sunday is OK, too, since the Carnival is on Sunday.

At least he doesn't also shred the toilet paper.

...but someone's water bill is probably a bit high this month.

Friday, August 18, 2006

And then there were...more

Tonight, just after work, my phone rang. For those of you who don't know, I can hear ya'll before the message actually beeps. So if you call and say "I got the damned machine again..." I can heeeeeaaar you!

At any rate, tonight the phone rings, and as my recorded voice chatters on about how I don't return phone calls about cats (I leave my email address on the message), I can hear "Mew! mew. MEW! MEW! MEW!"

It was Valarie from around the corner. Now not only is she getting cats dumped on her, people are bringing her kittens they find dumped elsewhere in the neighborhood. The kitten I could hear mewing was obviously still in bottle-feeding age, so I picked up the phone and told her to bring him on down.

I walked out to check the section of road where she had been told he was found. Valarie picked me up, and we drove to where she had been told the person had picked him up. Nothin. Nada. So we walked a bit farther, and I noticed a driveway with a cat. And another cat. And....another cat. I walked up the drive and saw...kittens. Many kittens.

So we got to meet another neighbor who has had scads of cats dumped on her, and they all have had kittens. One of the littermates of this little guy, who had wandered away from the clan down to the road, had fly eggs on him, and another had goopy eyes, so I told her I would take these three, bring her back some food, and that we needed to talk about getting the cats fixed ASAP. Right now there are at least ten kittens, and three are at an adoptable age.

This is only about a half mile from my house! How many more kittens are out there, only a stone's throw away?

These are fly eggs. By tomorrow they would have been maggots, and this would have been a dead kitty in a few day's time. You get these off by giving the kitten a bath under the faucet and combing them out with a flea comb. It's disgusting, but it works. Thank goodness for Dawn dish soap. All three got baths, a blow-dry, a drop of Advantage flea treatment (they were crawling, and the Dawn didn't nearly kill them all) and 1/3 a bottle of KMR diluted with water. And then my husband and I drove into town for a cheap dinner out, because Friday is supposed to be out "non-kitten night out."

More kittens. I do believe this is the most we've ever had in this short a time, especially if you add the ones we left behind at the neighbor's house.

Mark came home early today, and I was still dressed in my comfy computer work clothes, which can be a little...scary. Today's outfit was a lavender t-shirt and teal capri length sweats. When I went out to look for the kittens, I asked Mark to tell the kitten-finder, if she called, that I had gone out to look to see if there were any other kittens, and for her to meet me on the road.

Mark casts an eye at my outfit and says "Shall I tell her to look for the woman dressed like..."

"...yes, a cat lady," I finished for him.

I did change out of the teal capris and put on white shorts for dinner out.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

National Homeless Animals Day, August 19, Saturday


Okay, let's kick it in for the cat bloggers. There is a call for candlelight vigils on August 19th. Shall we not remind ourselves, in the blogger's community, of how many animals need homes, and then celebrate on August 19th, all those who have been saved, but remember those who yet need help?

Let me know if you will be able to take a photo of a candle, or a cat and candle, (or any pet and a candle) to post on their blog or website on August 19th along with a link to National Homeless Animal's Day and a local animal shelter or rescue agency of their choice. I will link them all here, and also send in the list to the Carnival of the Cats on Sunday. Please forward far and wide, to anyone you know who has a blog.

If you can't get a candle shot, consider a photograph of a past rescued pet, in honor of all rescued pets.

We shall have a Vigil of our own in the virtual community, in solidarity with neighborhood communities across the world.

Let's remember all the good that has been done, and all those we have yet to help. Include your blog address in the comments below so I can check and link it Saturday, or email it to info @

Don't have a blog, and there is no vigil near you, how about sitting on the front porch with a candle lit, enjoying a moment to reflect.

Much love,


Sunday, August 13, 2006

And two more adopted...

Zig and Zag (named by Mark; he's been doing a lot of that lately) the black kittens in this photo, were just adopted yesterday. They are off to the vet Tuesday to be neutered, tested, and rabies vaccinated. Also in the house are Tristan and Jack. Tristan, Zig, and Zag must cuddle in on the the lower level of the cat tree, because Jack owns the top level:

Big thanks to Charlie and Pat for keeping Tristan and Jack (and Annette for fostering them when they were little) and to Nancy and Tom for fostering Zig, Zag, and their two sibs. The adopters had inquired about Tristan and Jack, but as often happens, fell for two different kittens instead!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Two more find homes...

Valarie and her husband, who turn out the nicest rescued kittens in the world, have tracked down a home for Caspar and Cassie. These two kittens are total lovebugs (origin: abandoned at roadside) and their new owner will be veeeery lucky! We now have seven kittens in foster homes, and four here. The four here are not yet ready for adoption. I've got a couple interested in Jack and Tristen (formerly Georgie and Domino--foster homes often change the kittens' names, and that's fine), so I'll reel in four for a viewing this week.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Camping and weddings can go together...

....if you get the right campground. We stayed at Willey Brook, which was a hoot. Showers (above) are very important. These were incredibly clean and cute to boot.

A comfy tent helps.

And when your niece and nephew-to-be love animals...

...points for that right? Even though they are bunny huggers instead of kitten huggers? Well, guess again...who did they adopt that first bunny from? Yes indeedy, back when Wildrun was Wildlife Control, Looper lived here, and Kagen and Eliza came to visit and fell in love (with the bunny...they were already in love with each other).

And so began the great bunny adventure (they adopted a second, but not from me)...and a BUNNY THEMED WEDDING!

Many, many happy years, you two. Anyone who comes up with a not-just-edible-but-absolutely-delicious wedding cake is going to have a long and happy life.

And I, of course, managed to find wild fauna at the wedding table.

A wonderful life to you both, Eliza and Kagen.

If you are still reading this blog... have more patience than I do! Sorry for the lapse in blogging.

A) too many kittens
B) wedding to attend in New Hampshire. We're back! Thank you to everyone who fostered kittens!
C) Mark's birthday. And if you think I've been neglecting this blog, I also haven't had time to buy him a present. So rest assured, there is a person I've been neglecting worse than my readers. Ack!
D) new adoptions and foster homes! Happy Day! The kitten at the top is Zeke (who may have a new name by now). When adopters immediately send photos, you know the kitten got a great home.
E) new experienced caretaker. In addition to Valarie and Gretchen, who have been checking in on the cats, Donna has now dropped from the heavens and so impressed me with her resume that I asked her to care for the place while I was gone and I even SLEPT AT NIGHT WHILE I WAS AWAY without anxiety attacks.
E) new work computer. I must hook it up today, plus fax/copier, router, modem, etc. Which means my laptop will be out of internet service as I attempt a hopefully flawless installation.

Please wish me well!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Meet you at the Bridge, Sammy.

Rest in peace, Sammy. Thank you to Cornerstone Veterinary Hospital for getting us in at a moment's notice, and to his previous owner's son, who took great pains to find his mother's street cat a place when she could no longer care for him. Sammy was sixteen years old when kidney issues finally became too much for him today. He came here scared, and turned into a regular mush. He was a real joy. I wish we could have placed him in a home for his final months, but he certainly seemed to blossom here anyway. Thanks as well to Gretchen, for giving him extra attention lately. He surely loved attention.

In addition to cutting down trees...

...we pulled out carpet. And look what we found underneath.

We also discovered where Nick the cat's secret peeing spots were.

The tree goes.

Sadly, we had to have our tree removed. Kodiak Tree Service did a great job for a decent price. We ended up with the wood mulch (which we would have had to purchase for around $200 if we'd just bought mulch--of course, this stuff needs to be aged or used where it won't harm plants), and a lot more sun coming through my office window.