Friday, February 29, 2008

Bernstein. Good speakers and hi-speed required.

For my symphonic readers. :) (is that an actual adjective, used correctly?)

The videography on this is great.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Winter returns

I keep telling myself that if "it's going to be cold, I'd rather have it be white..." but this is getting old. I keep dreaming of planting pansies in the window boxes. Last year I planted them so early they ended up getting snowed on (but survived, as pansies do).

I also keep reminding myself that it's only February. Plenty of winter left yet.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Home again

Our cats are so lucky to have Donna and Tim to look after them. I'm not sure what I would do without them, now that Alden has moved to Ithaca. 3.5 days of 3 visits a day....that's a huge commitment!

The AWFNJ conference was, as usual, excellent, although New Jersey got their only (only!) snowstorm of the year on Friday, the first day of the conference, so it made travel somewhat challenging for attendees. By Saturday most everyone seemed to have found their way through the weather.

My camera was poorly suited to the lighting so the few shots I did get are a bit on the fuzzy side. I was room monitor for Brian Kortis (Neighborhood Cats) Trap Neuter Return certification program (yes, I did get to choose which workshops I monitored--lucky me!). It's always fascinating to sit in the audience with people who range from no....TNR experience where you can listen to what they agree with, what surprises them, and what startles them. As someone who has been involved with TNR for over a decade, it's good to be reminded of what it's like to be exposed to this idea for the first time.

The TNR movement now benefits from many excellent videos (now DVDS instead of good old video tape, so more affordable for advocacy groups to reproduce and mail) and I highly recommend anything you can find from Neighborhood Cats (

I have not yet seen the Alley Cat Allies DVD and I meant to pick one up while I was there. I guess I'd best order one on line! The ACA booth was also well attended and I enjoyed the time I spent with the ACA rep (she gave me several contacts for issues I had questions about and I thank her!)

During his presentation Brian showed the room how to use Laura Burns' (Hubcats of MA) amazing drop trap.

You can learn more about this item of beauty here

ACES (Animal Care Equipment and Services) was at the exhibitors area so I was able to say hi to Bill Brothers, whose business provides equipment for both domestic and wild animal rescue, welfare, and control. The exhibit hall is always one of the best parts of any conference. I daresay I would not be working in a paid position in animal welfare now if I had not constantly visited exhibit areas at local wildlife rehabilitators conferences when I first started out in wildlife control in the early 90s. Exhibitors for wildlife rescue overlap with domestic animal welfare. It was in the exhibit hall that I learned so much, forged friendships, and purchased equipment I otherwise would not have been able to afford, at show discounts.

Even when I was working in other fields, I always tried to attend one animal welfare workshop each year, even if paying for the registration meant I slept in my truck in the parking lot (with permission!), or camped at a local KOA for $12. Luckily I lived in NYS, which meant I usually didn't have to drive far to find something in NY/PA/VT . Remember to look outside your field as well. Wildlife rehab programs have a lot of medical expertise to share with domestic animal rescuers!

I did have to take a shot of the Petfinder booth. I distinctly heard someone say "oh, man, she has a blog!" when I was taking photos. Sorry! (no I'm not!)

This is just a tiny snippet of a very large two-day conference. If you live in the NY/NJ area, I highly recommend this conference, which is held every year.

Next up is the Whole Cat Workshop in MA on March 9 in Grafton MA. Only $40 for non members. Let me know if you are going!

Unfortunately I also brought home a virus from my travels and I'm not feeling so hot. So I'm headed off to bed...dare I say? Before midnight.

Thank you again to everyone who make my travels possible!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Streetlight Interference Syndrome

Oh, how hilarious. It has a name!

When I was in college, I notice a particular path light always turned off when I walked by it. At first I wrote it off as coincidence, but it began to get a little freaky. Finally I asked my college roommate to accompany me. Sure enough, every time we walked by together, it turned off. When she walked by alone, it didn't. We kept walking by the thing, expressing nervous giggles.

Well, we finally ended up watching in the snow from a distance and learned that it turned off and on by itself (with no one walking by at all. Clearly my "interference powers" were in fact just a fluke of timing. Leslie continued to joke about my "powers"--especially once when we were out rowing with the team before the sun had risen and all the street lights in Cass Park went off when we rowed by. I shared the joke with Mark when I met him, and it has become a mild lip twitcher if we travel and lights happen to turn off around us.

It never occurred to me that this was a common enough form of "magical thinking" to have an actual name ("Street Light Interference Syndrome, or SLI"). I do know people who are more likely to have static issues that other folks (that one person who ALWAYS is getting shocked by everything they touch). This is generally assumed to be due to their choice of clothing, their way of walking (dragging feet, etc.), or what they are commonly exposed to during the day.

Who knows? Mine, I'm certain, is just coincidence. But it's a fun coincidence.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ben is outta here

So Ben has got himself a laid-back foster home with Alden. No longer stuck in a 4x8 run with liberty for only 6 hours out of a day, he's now hanging in a downtown Ithaca apartment, and maybe someone Alden's apartment complex will fall in love with him and adopt him.

I did get an inquiry on Ben a few weeks ago, and as sometimes happens with me, I dropped the ball because work and life got hectic. You wouldn't think something like just taking some really nice pictures could derail a simple request about a cat, but you know, it just does.

(Hint, anyone want to come on out and take some photos of all these cats?)

But in the meantime he has a much more interesting life now! Thanks, Alden, for sharing your home with Ben! I hope you keep one another good company.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Did I save money or waste money?

Lately I've been thinking about "travel with cats." I have one cat in particular in the facility, Espie, whom I think might actually enjoy it.

However there are several roadblocks,one of which is that even pet friendly hotels require pets to be confined to a crate when the owner isn't in the hotel room with the pet. And a roomy crate or cage can't easily be lugged to the hotel room and certainly isn't an option on an airplane.

I've seen soft sided dog crates. They are understandably pretty expensive, an a bit overbuilt for a laid back kitty. But while I was picking up sneakers in Kmart today I came across this for only $22.

Hmmmm. Money saver, or waste of money? It would certainly fit in my luggage. But was it trash or treasure? I risked it and bought the thing.

I nearly knocked out my teeth popping it open.

Well, it's plenty roomy! It will fit a cat box, bedding, and bowls, even for a large cat. An upset cat could easily shred the thing, but I'm thinking therapy-type cats and bottle baby kittens who can't be left at home.

Ditzy likes it!

Problem: when I popped it open I did not pay attention to how it was folded. So while I was able to get it conveniently flat again I was unable to figure out how to get it in a disc shape again. I'm hoping Mark will take up the challenge and show me once again that I am simply incapable of following printed directions.

It seems like I got my $22 worth. The door zips shut it is roomy and lightweight. I'm thinking of taking a cat with me to AWFNJ (maybe) so we'll see if I get to try it out. Well...if a cat gets to try it out.

Post note: This is not for the cat to spend a long time in. It's for the cat to be enclosed in for safety reasons when one is not in the hotel room (with, of course, the "do not disturb" sign up on the door anyway).

You know that statement...

"...the hurryier I go, the behinder I get?"


I'm leaving for NJ on Thursday. Luckily Mark and Donna will be here to hold down the fort. I'm tearing down the cages in the downstairs of the barn since there is only one Waverly cat left to go (we hope)and giving it a good cleaning. I took down all old white string lights because they had finally died, and replaced them.

I got tired of the cats opening the cupboards upstairs when they are at liberty, and pulling everything out. So I bought childsafe latches and installed those today.

A mass emailing went out from work on Saturday, which resulted in a flood of responses, so even though it was a day off, I went in and logged about three hours. Otherwise tomorrow would be way overloaded.

I did the usual cat cleaning.

I called both my sister and my mother tonight, as promised, to deal with family business.

And sent out more thank you notes.

And did a piddling amount of cat laundry. More tomorrow.

And made dinner. And did some dishes.

I got a call from our neighbors who have fixed their local ferals. One of their feral kits, Rosie, seems to be ill. So I need to remember to leave a trap and a net out for them tomorrow.

It was 52 today, which was lovely. All of the snow was melted away.

Then I just went out to the cat facility for one last visit at midnight...and the ground is covered with snow again!

What the heck?

But now the moon is shining, and the shadows of trees are falling across that inch of beautiful untracked new snow.

I'm not sure if I love or hate winter.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Running around getting things done...

I have half a million things (well, maybe 25 or 30) that have been put off due to constant busy-ness. This weekend I was able to get a start, and got all my cat paperwork filed neatly away, and all old files that I haven't read for years (most related to wildlife) tossed.

Much of it can be found with a quick Google search, nowadays, so it may as well go in the recycling bin.

I enjoyed writing some thank-you notes, and am slowly but steadily picking away at things I. Must. Do. It feels rather good.

I then made an idle mistake. Just a small one. Since I had some time, I read a new blog. Being a fool, I left a general comment.

Oh, silly me. I forgot about those comment sharks, who live to wap fellow commenters. They don't converse...oh no! They strike! And they SO enjoy doing it. They see that new comment on there, and their saliva glands just start flowing.

Ah yes, forgot about that. I find my forgetfulness rather humorous.

There are better things to do. Life's too short. I'll stick to reading the blog entries by the actual blogger, and stay out of shark-infested sea of comments.

OK, packing up the laptop, and back on the road again for more errands!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Harley and Sylvester, historical photos

The photo above came out incorrectly, but my desktop computer is ill and will not let me crop photos. If you click on it, you'll get to view them decently.

Harley and Sylvester were adopted by my sister, Linda. I am going through all the stuff I've meant to organize and came across this photo of the two of them lounging. Linda adopted Harley as a wide-eyed kitten about nine (?) years ago. She adopted Sylvester, who was one of our longtermers in the cat room, just a few years ago, upon which he promptly notified her he had a $1000 plus hairball and she ended up with a huge vet bill.

They are sweet cats, but are shy of me now. While Sylvie will let me pet him, Harley hides under the bed, so I guess I'll have to be content with a photos to see them!

Friday, February 15, 2008


I have Monday off!
Working from live in such a vacuum!!!
Day off! Day off! Day off!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

This is NOT a better truck.

No. No. No.

A better truck would be a hybrid small truck, that small business folk could afford to purchase for $23,000 or less (preferably under $20,000, but understandably more if hybrid). It would not have plastic crap all over it, because small business folks can not afford to fix busted plastic crap that is just there to "look daring."

(How many years did my broken plastic air scoop hang from a cable-tie off the front of my truck until a deer did me the favor of destroying the whole front of my truck and insurance helped fix the whole thing?) Who has $400 - $600 to fix a crack in a piece of plastic? Because, oh yes, you have to replace the entire panel!

A good truck would have a bed big enough to hold a 4x8 sheet of plywood (OK, it can hang out the back, but it needs to fit in there above the wheel wells!). And it would get at least the 30 mpg that my 1998 extended cab Chevy S-10 gets. If hybrid, it should get considerably more.

But no. We tell the public that some huge gas hog covered with futuristic plastic molding is the future of trucks, and laud the fact that new huge hybrids get you a few more miles to the gallon when in fact most buyers don't even need a truck that large. All they are trying to do is to KEEP people buy huge trucks by telling them "they'll get better mileage." Well, they'd get GREAT mileage if there were a SMALL hybrid truck with a gas tank a working man or woman could afford to fill.

How about a hybrid work truck from the independent business person whose whole house may cost as much as one of these monster trucks?

It's gotten so you hardly have a choice among small trucks. Mileage on new trucks seems to be worse than it was in 1998 when I bought my last new Chevy, not better. They'll blame this on new emission standards, but I'm sorry. Many years ago, friends of mine were tooling around in small new affordable cars that got well over 40 mpg (back when I was buying older used cars). Now you are expected to be happy if you get over 30 in a car (let alone a truck). What's up with that?

Dear Detroit. I swore once I would only buy new vehicles because I needed those 5-7 payment-free years once it was paid off--as well as the 5 maintenance-free years in the beginning. But frankly, your trucks are irresponsible. I'll be buying a used S-10 when the catmobile finally treks to the litterbox in the sky.

One thing I will approve of is overall quality. My first S-10 only lasted about 100,000 miles before it really started to rattle apart. I put a few exhaust systems on my first S-10. I have yet to replace the exhaust on my 1998. My current S-10 made it to $150,000 before bits and pieces started wearing out, and the bits that are wearing are affordable bits. (That said, she's still immobile in the yard due to a tiny gas leak, and I'm driving Mark's vehicles, but thats basically because I've been routing my cash toward cats instead of cars...which is very bad of me and I must stop this month). I'm hoping the new "small" trucks have similar high quality.

Rant over.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Animalia Angelicus. Haven't read it...

Have you?

Pooh and Piglet!

I have too many email accounts.

I knew Beth had sent me a photo of Pooh and Piglet all grown up, but darned if I could find it. Then I was in my gmail account, and whoa, there it was!

Here they are as kittens

You should have seen them when they were born. They were silver (russian blue-gray) with black masks and paws. I have photos somewhere (probably on a floppy disk....ha!) At about six weeks they started turning black.

I was convinced I had some gorgeous new mutation. It was sad to watch them turn black, but they were sweet little guys, so I enjoyed their retro-silver-Siamese-point phase while we had it. And black cats are lovely. I some serious separation anxiety when they were adopted, but I needn't have worried.

Here they are all grown up. I probably wouldn't be able to tell them apart now:

Thank you, Beth, for giving them a home together!

Post Note: Amy K. who rescued Pooh and Piglet's pregnant mom (and thus, Pooh and Piglet) left a comment! I may have to start posting lots of our previous rescues to flush out old friends who are reading.

Woke up this morning and the beagle was king

We don't have TV, so I'm always a bit behind until I can check the news on the internet the next morning.

Other articles have predicted a spike in beagle adoptions. The owner (or was it the handler) suggested: "Better get a fence."

I would agree. We've had, I think, four strays show up here at our house over the years. Three have been beagles. I had a beagle cross, Scamper,who now and then took neighborhood walks if he broke his long wire run. Luckily he usually headed over to my best friends house, where his buddy, a cocker spaniel (also named Scamper) lived. There was no walking Scamper loose. He had to have a leash. Period. They follow their noses.

Here is the article.

There's an AP Video here

Monday, February 11, 2008

Humane Society of Schuyler County Open House

Please join the Humane Society of Schuyler County for an Open House.

February 16th
1pm - 4pm
2386 County Route 10 (the old Fingerlakes Vet Clinic)

Come see our "new" building, learn about our spay/neuter clinics, and meet some of our adoptable cats.

Thanks, Judy, for sharing this!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Marimba is now "Cosmo" in his new home

Marimba was adopted! I took him out to his new home last Wednesday and it sounds like he's doing fine. They sent a few fast photos with promises of more to come.

In addition to the adoption fee, Cosmo's family had a present ready for us. We loooove presents. Window cleaner, paper plates, paper towels, a case of Nine Lives canned food, and some baby food.

Another lucky kitten!

And out in the cat facility...

The Waverly folks caught Orange Tea. He's truly feral and has been hiding in his feral cat den any time I come in. He'll be getting neutered Tuesday.

Great White has recovered from is neuter and is ready to leave. I wish we had an indoor home for him instead of sending him back to his original outdoor home. He's such a sweetheart. He came in hissing, and so dirty he was grey, with scabs and abscesses. Now he's almost gleaming white, totally friendly, and his abscessed ear has healed. Doesn't anyone want a sweet handsome cat? When I picked him up for a cuddle tonight, he didn't want to be let go.

So many so-called ferals are simply abandoned or lost pet cats who are nervous about being picked up by strangers until someone gets them indoors again. It is sad to see where they end up, but so good to know that nowadays someone cares enough to not just feed them, but even get them to the vet.

Baby, it's cold outside.

Cold, cold, cold. I try to close my thoughts to the animals (and humans) who are shivering outside in that freezing hell out there. Otherwise it drives you insane. The wind is snarling, two inches of powder fell today, and the thermometer is rapidly falling toward zero... The downstairs cats have the kerosene heater cranking. The upstairs cats are perfectly toasty, as usual. It's warmer up there than it is in our house.

We gave up on our kitchen for the rest of the winter. I tipped the kitchen table onto its side and rolled it into the Great Room (after I removed the Christmas tree. Yes, I know it's February). It looks quite nice in there even though there is already a dining room table in the room. The second table sits by the glass door in the sun--when there is sun. The dining room table belongs to friends, so I'll be giving them a call to reclaim it.

I dragged (literally...thump, thump, thump...) one wingchair down from my landing office. I had envisioned a cat curled up in the chair next to me as I worked, when I dragged it up there three years ago, but they never used it. Then I dragged the other in from the Great Room. Mark had mentioned it might be nice to have two chairs next to a heater with a table in the kitchen, so we can sit there in the morning with coffee. The kitchen is the only room in the heated portion of the house with a window large enough to really see out when you are sitting.

So here it is...the new improved kitchen. I guess if we decide that we want a sit-down dinner or we have guests, we'll just have to open up the Great Room and turn on the heat. Mark and I mostly just eat out of bowls in chairs and only use a table if we are eating something that requires finesse or a knife.

As you can see, the shades are closed to keep out the cold. So much for our seats near the window!

The cats are psyched to have two new sleeping options. And Mark and I are wondering where we'll toss our stuff when we walk in the house, now that there is no kitchen table to capture it. Maybe we'll (gasp) have to put it away?

We also figure when friends come, they can hang out in comfy chairs while we cook (the stove etc. is to the right out of the frame)

And look, I haven't killed the spider plant yet!

Further adventures of Thomas

Thomas stayed with Cary for two weeks to see how he did with dogs (and an automatic litter box!). He graduated from both courses and moved in with Cary's dad on Saturday. I received the following from her today:
Hi there! Talked to my dad today. He is head over heels in love with that cat! Course who couldn't be. He did put Thomas back in the laundry room last night just because he figured till he got used to the house that would be the best thing, but when I called this morning Thomas had already had breakfast with my dad, and was sleeping in his lap. He is going to be a very loved and spoiled boy. I miss having him here, but what a perfect match for my dad.

I guess Thomas won't be helping you get your work done on your laptop any more, Cary! (And hey, yours is a lot cleaner than mine...) Sounds like he's with your dad to stay.

StarGazette article on Chemung Adoption Event

Great article here

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Gifts and blog cats

Cricket and Ivan are the blog cats of the night. Actually, they are peeved that there is no fire so are sucking up laptop heat.

Thank you to a thoughtful blog reader (Stephanie, did you send these too?) who sent folders. Someone took it upon themselves to send TWO BOXES of manila folders. I will never be folderless again. Each kitten goes home with her/his paperwork in a folder, because it's less likely to get lost than an envelope, and it seems like I'm always running out. An when you buy them by the 10 or 20 pack, they are rapidly depleted. I shouldn't run out for two years now, at least!

Thank you!!!

Friday, February 08, 2008

What a beautiful little blog!

This is really worth the visit if you are into veterinary medicine.

Nearly Dr. Ferox

Mandatory spay/neuter Palm Beach County

Learn to care for kittens!

From Petsmart Charities. Don't be intimidated. These webinars are free and easy to join:

Hi everyone,

We've just added another great webinar to our list of February sessions:

Time to Milk the Kittens: Kitten care for animal welfare groups and foster parents
Presented by: Dr. Sandra Newbury, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
Thursday, February 21: 3-5 p.m. pacific; 4-6 p.m. mountain; 5-7 p.m. central; 6-8 p.m. eastern
Friday, February 22: 8-10 a.m. pacific; 9-11 a.m. mountain; 10-12 p.m. central; 11-1 p.m. eastern
Monday, February 25: 12-2 p.m. pacific; 1-3 p.m. mountain; 2-4 p.m. central; 3-5 p.m. eastern

For some, kitten season comes on little soft feet. For many, it comes like a herd of elephants. Kittens have unique susceptibilities. They are among the most fragile animals who come to us for help. Young kittens also need care from their moms or a mom replacer. Pre-planning care in the shelter, training, and support for foster families are essential to save lives and get the kittens, and the humans, through this danger zone. In this webinar, we will cover all aspects of care for kittens, in the shelter and out. We will also talk about why we need to work so hard to get them out.

These sessions will fill up quickly, so you will want to make sure to register soon at

If you are no familiar with webinars, or would like to schedule a test run to make sure your computer is set up and ready to go, feel free to contact Suzy Hayton at

**If you would like to be removed from this email list, just respond to this email and type Unsubscribe in the subject line.**

Thanks everyone, we look forward to "seeing" you online!


Idly surfing...

I found this
This link takes you to the book

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Neither sleet, nor thunder, no lightning, nor rain...

...will keep those Waverly people from helping their local cats!

Yesterday as I worked, my vet's office called and said "This is a reminder that you have an appointment tomorrow for Lawrence....and a feral."

And a feral? But I didn't have an unfixed feral! And the weather was nasty. Just nasty. And I had to deliver a kitten that night, so I couldn't even run out to Susan's trailer park where she's trapping, and plop down a trap to see what I could get.

So I sent an email off to the Waverly folks. Were they insane enough to take the bait?

Indeed they were. And they actually managed to catch a cat, which tells you just how hungry those cats are, and what good trappers the Waverly folks have become. They made another late-night trip out to deliver him here. This guy desperately needed to be caught. He was wet and matted, and those mats weren't going to come out on their own. This is the kind of situation that will kill a cat come early summer when the flies come out. Flies will lay eggs on smelly wet matted cats, and (sorry for the graphic explanation) the resulting maggots will eat a cat alive.

That's not the fate for this guy. He'll get clipped up and cleaned up, and he'll spend more time grooming once he's thinking less about fighting for the ladies.

They named him "Wednesday" because he was rescued on Ash Wednesday.

"Build a fire now or we smother Cricket..."

"We swear. Don't push us. We're cold!"

You'd think all that fat would keep Squeak and Nell plenty warm. Squeak is constantly laying on the other cats, and Cricket, who is getting up in years and only has three legs, is getting a bit peeved about it all. She has taken to lying next to me because she knows I'll push Squeak off.

He jumped up four times yesterday, and four times I pushed him off. The fifth time Cricket punched him right in the face before all four paws even hit the couch next to her. I guess she figured if he wouldn't listen to me, he'd listen to her.

He did, too.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Candle lit for little Kubota

I wrote this post about a month ago, but frankly, I had a hard time reading it. I still have a hard time now, but I think it's time...

I went out to lunch with Lori today, and she mentioned one of my adopters had moved to Elmira and was now using the clinic where she works. I asked how Kubota was doing, a cat he had adopted from me.

She said "He's gone."

Kubota apparently escaped his Commons apartment while still in Ithaca. His adopter didn't think to call me. This was about a year and half ago. so Kubota is likely either rescued by someone else, or died, by now.

Kubota was a very special kitten and I'm having a hard time with this. I feel like I should go down on the Commons and put up flyers to see if anyone who worked there might have rescued him. On the other hand, part of me says "A year and half? He's long gone." He was painfully shy with strangers.

Kubota had a good owner. I do wish he had tracked us down to help try to find Kubota when he became lost.

I did get to see the kitten after he was grown. We were out on the Commons doing adoptions outside PAWS (now gone) and he brought a big and glossy (but still shy of course) Kubota down to see us. It was wonderful to see him all grown up.

There are not always good stories, here.

When the community loves a cat...

I stopped by Men and Cats today and read this post about the the passing of Fup, a bookstore cat.

Going to her tribute page...over 300 comments!

Feb 9 Adopt-A-Thon Chemung Fairgrounds!

Local shelters and rescue groups will be holding an Adopt-A-Thon at the Chemung County Fairground on February 9th!

From the Star-Gazette:

Fairgrounds to host Valentines Adopt-a-Thon


The Chemung County SPCA, Elmira Animal Shelter, Horseheads Animal Shelter, and Paradise Garden Animal Haven will taks part in a Valentines Adopt-a-Thon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Chemung County Fairgrounds.

For more information, contact the CCHS/SPCA at (607) 732-1827.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Such a cool video...

I followed a Yahoo link to watch this, and the fun mood was ruined at the end when all I could think was: "Damn it, don't dump the fish. DON'T DUMP THE FISH!!!"

Please just don't dump your fish.

Post Note: Oh someone must have had a copyright catnip fit. Video is gone. Sorry!

On Feliway, and thanks, Stephanie!

Upon arranging to return Olivia to Endicott, Stephanie (adopter, and now street cat rescuer!) asked if there were anything we needed.

About a month and a half ago, a friend and adopter, Nancy J., brought us two Feliway diffusers and a new refill. I have heard good things about Feliway but haven't used it myself due to the expense.

I decided to try it in our house first, so I could watch for any change in personality in our-fairly-benign-but-periodically-fractious cat population. Unfortunately, I started using it at the very same time that Jack left.

Utter peace reigned over the household. It was amazing. But a lot of it was the absence of Jack the Handsome Pest, who had insisted on intently staring at my nervous cats, and poking any cat who walked past him. All he wanted was for someone to play with him, but my cats are pretty stodgy and are past the romp-and-wrestle stage. "Play" around here usually consists of 5 minutes of frantic activity, followed by three days of sleep. With Jack in the house, the place was a constant sea of growls.

But with Jack in his wonderful new home, and the Feliway plugged in, our current seven cats settled into domestic bliss. Even Ditz (whom you have to meet to believe) and Squeak (the coward bully)were on their best behavior.

Best of all, we could hear little Norma the four-pound torti feral, romping around upstairs like a tiny thunderstorm, playing with toys. Norma? Play?

This past week, I noticed that Ditzy was starting to be a bit of a jerk again, and Squeak was wandering around the house yowling for no apparently reason. I figured the peaceful effect of Jack leaving us was wearing off, and my current cats were now ready to cultivate attitude again.

Today I received a package. Three boxes of Feliway from Stephanie! THREE! I checked the diffuser in my house and discovered why the cats were getting attitudinal again.

The Feliway was gone. The diffuser had run out. Was that the reason for the return of "attutude" to the Greene/Darling feline household?

So I consider the test to be a success. When I started it, my household became calmer, and the "Was It Jack or Was It Feliway" question was mostly answered by their reaction when the Feliway ran out. Now we'll see if they calm down again with the new refill.

But Stephanie didn't buy Feliway for my personal house cats. She bought it to benefit homeless cats. So I'm off to take the second donated diffuser and Stephanie's Feliway up to the cat room where the "big cats" reside. They are the shyest ones and could do with a little stress relief. I think I'll go purchase another diffuser for the cat facility (the cage room). I think two will be enough for the whole place. Also, outlets are limited up there. Fans, heaters, and lights tend to use up most of the existing electrical options.

I didn't want to start using it until I was sure there was some good in it. It's expensive stuff, and I don't want to throw my money, or anyone else's, out the window when the bucks could be used for vet bills. Also, what if throwing pheremones into the air actually STRESSED them more?

But it does seem to work if my household is any indication. Now I'll be interested in seeing how it works in the cat facility.

Thank you, Stephanie, and thanks Nancy J!

Spider plant plus cats equals...


Enough said. I knew there was a reason I didn't keep plants and cats.
I'm hoping they learn their lesson soon.

Speaking of cat gak...

Quick Mention in Star Gazette

I was pleased to see a great article in the Star-Gazette about the Kuranda Bed donation program, and equally happy to see a brief mention of Wildrun. The Kuranda beds are almost entirely indestructible.

However, we are all set on beds at the moment, not just due to Kuranda donations, but because Donna and Tim used a similar design to make us additional craftsman-made beds.

So please make your Kuranda donations to other location shelters, especially dog shelters, which can really benefit from the rugged material.

Donna, if you read this, could you send the link to the group who has the bed design you use? I was just looking at it this week, too, darn it!

Post Note: Donna sent the link to the online instructions to make your own. These are especially good for cats as well as dogs (IMO) because they aren't as rough on the beds as dogs. Here it is

If you visit this page, you'll see Donna sent in a photo of our sweet Dude using one of the craftsman-made beds!It down almost to the bottom New York shelters (because Donna and Tim have made a ton of beds for many local shelters, not just Wildrun).

Look at all those beds!

Friday, February 01, 2008

The futile search for internet access, Ithaca

What a nuisance.

I just wrote a long whining post about my futile search for reliable internet access in the cafes of Ithaca.

I've deleted it to spare you all.