Monday, January 28, 2008

Umm...too much catnip at your new place, Thomas?

Photos for the Jack Fan Club

Jack looks like he's pretty content in his new domain doesn't he?

It was well worth the wait to get him this home! Thanks, Holly! I hope the two of you are best friends by now. It sure looks like he's happy to have claimed your place as his too!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

IndyFeral has a feral cat calendar

Check out the cover art. And the previous year's calendar is available for only $5 and has neat cover art, too.

Stephanie was looking for a cat shelter for Olivia and sent me the IndyFeral link. They are a great group. Stephanie, I still have a shelter for Olivia if you need it, but the IndyFeral ones are a great deal. You can also make one out of a Rubbermaid container. Ours are bigger (and "bigger" may not fit your porch or lifestyle), simpler (looks like a toolbox rather than a kitty house), and have two doors, so the cat can get away from unwelcome visitors. You can see ours in the photo bar at the top of this page.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

All tucked in....

I had to clean and shuffle cages around. We needed one less upstairs with Thomas gone (Kitty Corn was upgraded to Thomas's big multi-level cage) and one more downstairs. Everyone is settled in for the night. And so am I. I'm looking forward to maybe sleeping in my bed tonight, instead of falling asleep on the couch because I have to go out to the cats, one more time...

Ummmm...he kind of looks like Thomas, doesn't he?

Kitty Transport Day

So today I set the alarm and hauled off to my vet to be there by 8:30 to pick up Tubbs from the off-site adoption cage, since they are not open on Sundays and he needed to come home.

Then it was off to Appalchin with Olivia (going home) and Thomas (going to his new home) by way of the Blue Dolphin, a landmark any local or frequent visitor knows well.

I love diners. I love the architecture, I love the waitresses, I love the coffee, I love the absolutely average food, and I especially love the prices. Today, however, Cary--Thomas's adopter--insisted on picking up the tab.

Here he is, headed to to PA!

Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of Olivia before she headed back to her home turf. She was very good about being transferred from one crate to another inside of my car. I'm always quite paranoid about losing a cat in a parking lot. Olivia is friendly but has a bit of an attitude. She certainly did not want to go into the new crate head first after just coming out of mine, but she was tolerant of being backed in.

So was have two less cats, right? Wrong! The Waverly folks had a successful trapping day and brought two more cats to be fixed this week, (thankfully it appears they are males so they won't have to stay long to recuperate), and they arrive when the place was a total mess between morning and evening cleanings--kittens running amuck upstairs, and while the cages had been cleaned for the evening downstairs, the floor had yet to be swept and nothing had been put back for the night. Sorry guys!

So I came in for dinner (Mark cooked....mmmmmmm alfredo....) and now I'm headed back out to clean.

I seldom get out of my own cage, it seems, except to go to Ithaca for cat related things, so on the way home from Apalachin I took 17C, which is a lovely, quaint county highway that runs along the Susquehanna River. The ice was magnificent so I stopped for a photo. As I hopped the guardrail and stepped over the railroad tracks, I realized I would probably break an ankle sliding down the railroad clinkers to the river, so I had to take photos from the rails:

One of the things I find most charming about 17C are the old telegraph lines with the old glass insulators

Also on 17C (Danger! Danger!) is Tioga Gardens.

Come on, wouldn't you stop?

I love greenhouses. I used to manage greenhouses in one of my three jobs at Ithaca College over the 17 years I was there. The job was animal and plant care; I guess they assumed it was better to hire an animal person and risk the plants, than hire a plant person and risk the animals.

However in my own home, plants risk their lives because I am bad about regular watering. We have one plant right now...just one...a gift plant from our friends Martha and Hilary. So I made the daring decision to purchase two cheap bomb-proof plants, a spider plant and a small pothos (commonly called a philodendron, which it isn't). Let's see if I can keep them alive.

So that was my afternoon of freedom. I told Mark I'd be home by one, and of course it was 3pm before I rolled in.

Hoeing out memories

Mark decided we should finally hoe out the knee-wall closets, where we stuff boxes of things we don't want to deal with.

Late this afternoon I sat here, after my Thomas-And-Olivia-Transfer-At-The-Diner trip, with a glass of wine, watching him go through a box. What a trip! There was an eclectic mix of neat stuff, and tons of junk. You know all those electronic wires and connectors you saved from your TV, scanner, stereo,etc. because you "might need them?" Well, after 17 years, it's probably safe to assume you can throw them out. We did.

This is a pay stub from Mark's job with Grounds back in 1989, a few months after we met. He was making $6.27 an hour.

Old Darling Family photos. Instead of being kept in a box, these will get framed to grace our guest room, where we hide everything we don't want the cats to destroy.

Mark's says "And here's your medal from the Empire State Games." And I said "No way!"

The summer of 1989 I worked as a police dispatcher and the coach of the crew team that I rowed for in college called me. They wanted to put an eight in the Empire State Games but only had seven rowers an a coxswain. Would I be interested in rowing? With a bunch of varsity college rowers who had been training regularly while I had been sitting on my butt for three years? Sure, I was a glutton for punishment.

Problem was, I was also dispatching the State Police Command Center from 11:00 pm - 7:00 am during The Games (no, I was not a NYSP dispatcher, I worked for Ithaca College but the mobile command center was on our campus so I had the opportunity to work it). So I worked all night, stumbled over to the Health Center where they gave me a bed, slept for a few hours, went to practice or to race, then went home, before heading to work.

We won the first heat and came in for the silver in the finals. It probably ranks right up there in my top ten most fun memories.

A Coyote Loco postcard. A fun restaurant and happy hour location that is long gone. Sniff.

Okay, this next one REALLY sums up our lifestyle, and I hope it makes both our mother's laugh. Mark and I are both really bad about thank you notes and cards. So one year we decided to get "grown up" and buy cards to "keep on hand" so we would "be prepared" and could send our loved ones cards at appropriate times. We promptly put them in a box where they remained for 18 years. Even the store, Logos on The Commons, is gone.

As Mark shuffled through the cards I noted two that were a suspicious shade of Valentine's Day pink. Guess what I'm getting for Valentine's Day?

And then there is the hickory nut Mark picked up....somewhen. For some reason. He doesn't remember. But some critter found it to their liking, and had it for dinner sometime over the past decade or so.

And that's just box number one!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thomas gets a bath..

In our kitchen sink. Now he's in the den drying off in the normal cat way, because he didn't think too much of the hair dryer.

He is friendly with all the cats. They aren't quite sure what to think of him, but he's just walking up and saying "hi." Only Ditzy has growled so far. I don't think the rest of them know what to think of this tubby white creature who smells like tar and sulfur.

Oh, now we have some hissing going on. Not Thomas though. Just the other cats. Thomas is totally oblivous. I wonder what he'll think of dogs in his new home?

Oh, hey, he likes catnip...

Mom's catnip toys come in SO handy...

Adoptions coming up?

Well, Saturday I'll be doing a rendezvous at the Blue Dolphin in Apalachin with Cary, who is adopting Thomas for her dad. They wanted a total lap cat, and she came up to visit Tiger Tom, but ended up with white Thomas in her lap instead, snotty eyes and all.

So I trotted Thomas off to the vet, because my vet had mentioned in the past that perhaps they could "flush his tear ducts." At the time he was last in, they did not have a small enough canula for his tiny ducts. When I brought him in for his pre-adoption check up (booster shots, FeLV/FIV testing again) the vet noted that he should have a dental too (argh! Why do cats have to have teeth!) and sent him home with eye meds that have a steriod in it, and told me to massage the corners of his eyes after applying.

So I brought him in the next day and they put him under, flushed his tear ducts, and extracted THREE teeth. Home he came with Clavamox, and pain relief, in addition to his eye meds.

Anyone who knows Thomas will be astonished at his pretty eyes now! Normally he has eye crusties at the corners:

He is in fact even friendlier than before, apparently not being concerned about me stuffing pills down his throat and meds in his eyes.

Tubbs was at the vet, too, but not because he needed treatment. We had him in our off-site adoption cage, and indeed, he may have used his cute face and kneading paws to pull in a Cornell grad student who is interested in adopting him (even though he was hiding under a towel when she came to see him).

Marimba and Ben also have prospects. Hopefully we'll be reporting on them, soon!

Monday, January 21, 2008

How are you keeping warm?

I don't know about you, but I'M cold, okay? And so are they. Well, maybe not. It looks like all the felines are making the most of the fireplace.

From left to right:

Nick is zonked in a cat bed I threw in the bottom of my downstairs "desk." Cricket still thinks my desk chair is hers.

Squeak continues to prove he has no dignity.

Ivan, above, takes center stage.

Ditzy takes the rocker, and Nellie retires to the couch. And where are the humans? Well, I'm standing with my butt right in front of the fire, thankyouverymuch! How else do you think I could take those pictures?

Actually, Nellie and I are now sitting on the couch a good eight feet from the fire, leaving the other kitties to bubble their fat.

That's all of our house cats, except for little 4lb Norma, who lives upstairs and prefers not to come down. She's snoozing with Mark right now, I'm sure, like normal living creatures at 11:30 pm.

Brrrrrr....what I bought with your money....

Drat, it's cold! They are saying -7F tonight.

A week or so ago, when it was quite balmy compared to this, one of the electric heaters in the cat facility kicked the bucket. I was surprised how toasty it was up there even without it, and thought perhaps there was no reason to go to the expense of purchasing a new one, and paying for the electric to heat it, if the two remaining heaters plus the heat lamp were handling the job quite nicely.

Hey, I thought, it's almost February. Maybe spring is on the way.

Yeah, right. It sure was chilly up there this morning after the clouds parted, the moon and stars came out, and the temps plummeted below zero!

Luckily, heaters are on sale right now. If you are in the market for one, zip on over to Home Depot.

I actually bought more than one. One is already cranking in the cat facility. I also bought one for the house. Mark has been talking about having one by chairs in the kitchen for about a year (our "house account" paid for ours, not the cat fund). We currently heat with oil and wood.

I'd whine about the heating bill that came today, but no one reading this is getting off easy if they live where there is winter, so there's no use complaining. My vet's own fuel bill was over $700.

The worst part is heating the downstairs of the cat facility for the feral spay/neuters. Normally fuel for that area is only needed intermittently, but with all the cats we've had coming through and cold temperatures even during the day, it's costing a mint to heat that area. I think after this Tuesdays and next Tuesdays appointments, if the weather is still this cold, we are going to have to stop for awhile until it gets in the 30s again. The downstairs costs about $15 a day to heat, which is why we only use it for feral spay/neuter space for other rescuers when they need it.

The regular cat facility (second floor) is relatively economical to heat, under the circumstances, and stays around 62-72, heated by electric.

The Christmas donations are now spent, but we definitely got our money's worth. A lot of cats have come through these past few weeks; we've made some improvements in the cat facility and purchased needed equipment and beds/bowls/hammocks. Fuel for downstairs ate up a chunk of it. Lawerence got his Western Blot test for FIV and is having his hernia operation, Tiger Tom and Ben got annual check ups with second FeLV/FIV tests, Thomas is going in for a dental and eye-duct flush tomorrow, and the kittens are ALL s/n and FeLV/FIV tested. So that's a pretty nice holiday present!! Thank you all!

Stay warm!

Use a pellet gun, go to jail

I get so tired of some of my friends telling me "pellet guns don't hurt animals." When I tell them they do, that in fact pellets and BB's penetrate the skin of animals and in some case even kill them, they laugh in a friendly manner and assure me that in fact, they don't.

Must be all those wildlife rehabbers and veterinarians are hallucinating when animals are brought to them with pellet gun and BB gun injuries.

Well, maybe it takes a felony charge and jail time to get this truth across

Shoot a critter out of malice or "fun" or just to "chase him off" and...go to jail? That might open a few eyes.

"When Tiger was given X-rays after his eye was shot, the family was surprised to discover two other pellets in his body from earlier attacks."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Schubert and Tuck settle in!

"Just a note to let you know that Schubert and Tuck are doing fine.
They are fully integrated into "upstairs" living and have no qualms
about taking over Percy's bed or feeding area. Percy is very
tolerant and wants to be one of the "boys." Schubert was feisty with
Percy at first but has settled down. Timid Tuck has come out of his
shell and is quite adventurous. Tuck was the first to fully accept
Percy and quite enjoys Percy's thorough ear cleanings. Both cats
will now throw themselves down in front of Perc and offer their
bellies. I have been trying to get a picture of the three of them,
but there's too much action! We are quite a happy household! Hope
all is well with you. Take care! -- Anne"

Postnote: I can't help but notice how much nicer that home shot of Schubert and Tuck is than their cage shot, here! Kittens belong in a home, not in a shelter.

A little fun...

80 words

Touch Typing online

I got higher the first time around (87) and thought, erroneously, I could improve. Oh well! I'll try again. I stole this from...I forget who. I'll need to go back and check.


86 words

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Upcoming conferences in the Northeast

I always forget to blog these with time enough for anyone to plan to attend.

A 300 mile drive from central NY, but close to you MA folk, is the Whole Cat Workshop of the MA Animal Coalition on March 9 at Tufts University. A mere $25 for members and $40 for non-members ($25 for students!). I think I'm headed there, so if anyone else is going, let me know so we can rendezvous.

Then there is the AWFNJ conference February 22 and 23. That's a command performance for me every year for work, so I will definitely be there.

I think I'll make some "I blog for cats!" buttons. Anyone who reads this and finds me will get one! And OK, I do promise to post a picture of myself before that time, since it's silly to say "find me" if you don't know who you are looking for. I feel badly about not connecting with folks in Florida.

Have a great weekend!

Post note: Ha! They already exist!

Hotel Wildrun

Winter means lots of spay/neuter. In the "old days" the common belief was that one did not "do TNR" in the winter because trapping was inhumane. At that time, however, I was trapping cats for removal and taming, and it would be inhumane to just leave a lost cat wandering around until spring until it was "warm enough" to trap, so I trapped in winter. It meant wrapping traps, monitoring traps, and often doing lots of late night driving, but it worked, and the cats weren't worse for wear.

Now it is generally understood that if you don't want kittens in the spring, you need to fix cats in the winter, too. Cats are usually held for longer periods for healing in the winter, and may need to be held longer yet if nasty weather arrives just as you wish to release the cat back to their home. Usually (not always) kittens are not involved, however, and it's just a matter of spay/neuter and return...spay/neuter and return...spay/neuter and return.

The problem with the extra holding time is that you then need space and cages, which we have a bit more of that other individuals who do TNR. So this week we are hosting three kitties from Tamarack Farm. Susan (yes, her name is Susan, too) is spay/neutering an entire small trailer park (possibly up to 28 cats!). Some cats she is keeping to find homes for, some very friendly ones she is taking to that county's S.P.C.A. for adoption, and some are being returned, where a resident is feeding them.

She arrived with two huge bruisers and a little torti in tow a few days ago. My job was the simple part (compared to trapping, and paying for the s/n). Drive the cats to the vet, pick them up at the end of the day, and take care of them for 3-7 days (depending on the sex of the cat). Since we use the same vet, it was no problem. AND she insisted on giving me three bags of Science Diet. Since I was down to one bag of food, this was happy news indeed.

So here they are. This first gentleman is actually shy but not feral, and weighs in at 16 pounds. These photos do not do justice as to how huge he and his buddy Blackie (below) are. Notice they are enjoying the nice new beds that just arrived?

This little torti didn't like the ride home in her trap and rubbed her nose raw. This is one reason why traps need to be totally covered, and is the reason I never call cage traps "humane traps." That term leads people to believe that an animal can't be hurt or killed in a cage trap, when in fact they can. I am pretty much alone in this campaign. Every large organization I've contacted says "We see your point and agree with you, but we are going to continue to call them humane traps."

Oh well.

And then there is Blackie. Oh my goodness, what a huge (16 pounds!)sweet baby!

Big, big, big. And very black. And very sweet. Really sweet, not feral at all. If anyone wants to adopt this big fellow, you'd better email fast, because otherwise he must be returned to his trailer park until there is room somewhere to foster him.

These guys are all downstairs in the quarantine area of the barn (not up in the cat facility) and with our present cold snap, I had to get the heat cranking for them.

Because the two boys are friendly, I did not bother with feral cat dens after the first day and gave them beds instead. Tame cats are less like to use the dens, in which case they just take up space in the cage. And given how big these guys are, the last thing they need is something else taking up space in their cages!

16 pounds! For your comparison, the average weight of outdoor cats (based on my records for the cats I have caught over the year) is 6 pounds, with a "healthy" tom usually weighing in at 10, at the most.

Monday, January 14, 2008

And downstairs, it's a CNY roundup!

Up first is Doublestuff, of Waverly NY (20 minutes to the southwest), who looks very concerned about going from the snowy streets of Waverly to some cage in a weird barn in Spencer.

Next up is Horatio, from Syracuse NY (2 hours to the north), rescued by my sister (who adopted Harley and Sylvester from us). Horatio is a feral cat who needs a good barn home, since he can't go back to his apartment complex in the shadow of Hancock International Airport because he has a landlord who doesn't quite get it (most people don't get it, so this isn't a seriously bad reflection on the landlord).

Finally there is Olivia.

Olivia is from Endicott NY (38 miles southeast), and she's living under a porch. The person whose porch she decided on knows she needs to be fixed or soon there will be kittens under the porch as well. Olivia appears to have some Siamese in her, given her slightly crossed eyes. This is a lousy shot of her, but what do you expect at midnight, hey?

Horatio was neutered last week. Olivia and Doublestuff are off to the vet tomorrow. All three of these kind folks (actually three for Olivia, and two for Doublestuff) paid all or part of their vet fees. People will help, when they care. People are good. They will reach out to one another. They will reach out to their neighbor who can't pay to get that cat they are feeding fixed. They will reach out to the cat herself, if she needs help.

People who do chip in, also end up saving other cats, for people who can't. If we don't have to pay for them all, we can help even more.

And I end up getting friends, too.

And I am off to bed.

Oh wait, I almost forgot Lawrence!

Lawrence is the downstairs Host Kitty. Unfortunately, we got a call from our vet today that Lawrence's Western Blot showed he does have active FIV. So his miracle did not come through for him. Lawerence either needs to find a no-cat or FIV-cat home, or he's stuck here for good. Luckily it is FIV and not FeLV, since he could not be the downstairs Host Kitty with FeLV.

However, he cannot go upstairs with the free-roaming cats, since he insists on wrestling and chewing on buddy cats. He can only be with caged cats with whom he can't have interactive contact.

Right through the roof

As I was walking back from picking up the paper today, I noticed something odd about our barn roof. There was more snow melted off the front than the back.

Whoa. Well, you can tell which side of the barn we're heating, can't you? The cats are on the middle two renovated floors in front (with the "real" windows). The back of the barn is for traditional barn things: tractors to manage to the 58 acres, etc. The top floor ("attic")in the front is as of yet unused. Nonetheless, even though that top floor itself isn't heated, the heat from the floors below warm it up enough to melt the snow off the roof. I'd never realized it before until today's dusting when I could compare the heated portion of the barn with the unheated back portion.

What a bummer to be sending paid-for heat up into the sky. Oh well. Perhaps I can insulate the floor on the top floor attic, next year.

If you click on that barn photo you'll see Buttons watching me from the top rear right window.

Right now I'm waiting for the Waverly folks to bring a cat they caught tonight. Open spay/neuter appointments wait for no human, and when you've got them, you trap! 11:00 pm and they caught a kitty, so they'll be bringing him/her by tonight so I can take him/her to to the vet tomorrow along with an Endicott kitty.

So I stopped up to play with the gang. Kitty Corn thought late night play time was rather cool.

And playtime isn't restricted to your own clan, even if I do split them up into three groups (so they each have 1/3 of the day to play in the whole facility. If a tail walks by, grab it, even if there is screen in the way, Wings (the orange cat) says!


Now that some of these long-termers are finding homes, I took a good look at my pet list for Petfinder and realized that some of my cats aren't on there, and in many cases their pet notes are outdated or uninspiring. So I've been bringing my camera along with me for opportunities to capture shots of the cats when I have a chance.

Plushie was particularly cute last night, stuffed into the cat condo watching the world go by. Plushie has been here four years. She was what I call a "flip bitter" as a kitten, which made her unadoptable at that time. As soon as you petted her, she wanted to flip over on her back and chew on your hand as if it were another kitten. This is OK with a little kitten, but becomes less amusing with a teenager. You don't always want to meet your cat's teeth every time you want to be affectionate with her. We were able to break her of it by simply stopping petting her and walked away when she did it...and Plushie looooves to be petted.

Gradually she learned that if she wanted to be petted, she had to keep all four on the floor. Now if you are in the cat room and strike Plushie as a worthy human, she will levitate to the shelf nearest you and ask for your attention.

She is the queen of the cat room. She has a tendency to pick on other female black cats so she can't be out with little Perci, but she gets along especially well with be fat boy cats. She will vocally ask for attention, but she's not loud. She's quite playful and will go right up the wall after a laser pointer.

She has come close to being adopted several times, but kittens have won out in the end.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Thank you posts below!

There are three, so please don't stop at just the top post!

Far away but near at hand...

Today was a pretty remarkable day. Remarkable in that an unexpected cat likely has a home, and that two of my co-workers independently send kindness and generosity our way on the same day.

A few days ago, my pet supply order arrived. Fuzz-e-floor hammocks, and quik lok crocks. They were immediately put to use in the cat facilities. The old hammocks came down to be washed, and the new ones went up. The new bowls went in to replace traditional bowls, but I was still one short.

Then yesterday, my postal person came up to the door with ANOTHER box from my pet supply place. I opened it and...huh! More bowls! My first thought was that the supply place had messed up my order and I was going to have to send these back or be charged for them when they realized their error. Then I thought to check the invoice.

Lynn, you sweet sneak you! Lynn (who has rescued an ark full of ferals in New Jersey) sent the Wildrun cats a present! And now I was no longer short on bowls!

Then today, Cary, another partner in crime at work, drove up two hours from PA with her video camera in hand and shot footage of the Wildrun clan so we can post video clips on my Petfinder site. Many of my shy adults cats haven't had in inquiry in years. How do you show that a shy cat really can be a playful love bug?

Well, Cary got lots of sweet and silly footage of some cats who look downright stodgy in standard photos. Her camera took great footage even in low light. Even Leo and Wings showed off for her.

And guess what. She has been looking out for a cat for her father, and she fell for the stodgiest but sweetest of all. Guess who?


Snurffly, blinky Thomas, who just wants to be loved. He wound Cary right around his chubby paw. The vet tells us Thomas had blocked tear ducts, or may have genetic issues from his obvious squish-faced ancestors, but I'll take him into the vet this week to see to get those eyes checked again and get his booster shots. He also had (OMG!) flea dirt on his white butt, so everyone got a round of Revolution this evening.

While Cary was here this afternoon, my overloaded postal person once again stopped her car instead of just tossing the mail in the mailbox. ANOTHER package!

More Fuzz-E-Floors!

Lynn strikes again! So now we have more than enough hammocks to go around, plus extras so that no one goes without when they are being washed.

Merry late Christmas for the cats of Wildrun, and especially Thomas, who is going to be SO happy to get out of here, since all he really wants is a lap to call his own.

Thank you, Lynn and Cary. I can't begin to articulate what this long-distance kindness means to me.

Let's show off those hammocks, both those purchased with donations, and those Lynn sent:

Dear Jack and The Leewit

Little did we know that when you were adopted your family would turn out to be a guardian angel to the Wildrun cats. Please give your mom a pounce and a nuzzle tonight and let her know that all our cats and kittens are much happier this New Years due to all the kind gifts we have received, and that we continue to be overwhelmed by your family's generosity. Somehow I can tell from your photos that you keep your household hopping. Much love to you all!