Saturday, August 28, 2010

Another sanctuary cat falls ill

I guess you find out which one you really love when they fall ill. Bugsy is doing well in her cage, happily consuming baby food, but still unable to walk on the floor without rolling sideways. She's not suffering, but she's not improving. Part of me wishes I had had her put down right away. The other half is glad I have given her her chance to improve.

If she were a pet cat, especially an "only" pet cat, this really wouldn't be an issue. If Ivan were rolling sideways (my pet cat), but still loved his baby food (and me) and could be coddled and loved and helped, it wouldn't be such a devastating illness. But Bug doesn't like people. She likes cats, and she like her wet food. She can't stay trapped in a cage, and she can't jump up to her high places that she loved so much. Am I keeping her in a cage to give HER a chance, or just to make the humans involved feel better because THEY gave her a "chance?"

She misses her buddies. When they are "at liberty" in the evening she comes out of her den and meows. I think I'll give her some down time in the cat room with them tomorrow, but I'll need to keep an eye on her, so hopefully she won't just hide in the corner if I'm there.

Tonight I went into the cat room to give everybody their Wednesday-Saturday comb-out, and figured since they'd heard me pop the top on a baby food jar for Bug, I should give them a treat as well. I opened another jar and went from cat to cat, running my hand down those that permit petting, and combing each one as they ate. When I got to Buttons he was on his usual spot on the window ledge, flirting with me. I ran my hand down his back...

and slightly pudgie handsome Buttons felt like bones. Like old cat bones. How could a cat lose that much weight in just four days since his last combing? Did I miss him because I was concerned about Bugs? I cracked open his mouth and checked his teeth. No red gums. No abscessed teeth. Was he bonded with Bug and had stopped eating entirely because she was gone to the other room? I put a dab of baby food down on the shelf and he went right for it. Lick, lick, lick, lick...but then after about 45 seconds he stopped, gave one last lick, and turned away. "Hey, I'm hungry! That smells good! That tastes good! Oh...I don't want to eat anymore. Something doesn't feel right..."

I petted him and he purred like nothing at all was wrong. He let me open up his mouth again and poke around. This wasn't just a little weight loss. This was serious weight loss. A few weeks ago I had been wondering if maybe I should put him on a diet. Last week I had thought how he was looking good (but maybe was already losing weight, going from pudgy to normal)and wondered if I should bring him in he house as a pet. Now here he was, way too thin.

And all the sudden I found myself in tears. I had been prepared for Bug. I have even prepared for Fluffy, since he has entered his senior years (he's doing fine). I wasn't prepared for Buttons. I pulled up on Buttons' fur and he was a bit dehydrated, but not too bad. I tried some more baby food and he just turned to face the other way. Still purring. But not willing to eat any more.

You know, it's hard enough when they are pets, but at least they had a full and loving life when they become old or ill and pass over. When they have been stuck here in a building all their lives with no special ONE PERSON to love them... I realize that they came in here before TNR was an option. They are the in-between cats. I always was prepared for the day when they would become ill. I expected it would be earlier than a pet cat, given the stresses of living in an adoption facility. Still, I can't help but feel that their lives have been stolen. They never had a home and alternatively, they never were allowed to be free. They were warm, well fed, and had the company of other cats. But there was never that expansion to their lives. A home. Their own home.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Returning little spitter barn kittens to their barn

So I returned the four spitter kittens back to their horse barn. Here is their cage, inside a stall. I'm going to go over to check on them this morning. I'm not sure if the barn owner opened the door yesterday or was going to wait until today. I don't like returning young guys to a barn, but this a nice barn with caring people, the kittens are tough cases, and frankly, I have 14 friendly kittens and only a few inquiries to adopt them.

One of the kittens was out here at the barn entirely by himself for almost two weeks, so hopefully he'll be able to show his siblings (who were caught earlier and might not remember the place well) the ropes.

The feral cats dens are lashed in place by bungie cords so they stay stacked.

Post note: Barn owner states she has opened the cage and the kittens are doing well. Three hate her (like good little feral kitties) and one lets her pet him when he's eating. Weather forecast is nice for a few days, so I feel better.

Vaccinating trailer park cats

So a fellow rescuer neutered 40 some cats at a trailer park about 15 miles from me, two years ago. She was able to place many of them for adoption through the Tompkins County SPCA. My cat Bear is from that colony. Some of the cats stayed here to recover from surgery. I had let Bear out to stretch his legs because he was tame, and he pushed out a pane of glass on one of my antique barn windows and was gone. He was nothing but pawprints in the snow for four months until my husband left, then Bear (formerly "Blackie") decided to step into his place and showed up on my walk, perfectly tame, and announced my place was his.

So anyway I felt some compulsion to help when a rabid skunk wandered into the park, prompting the health department to order booster updates for the cats.

The resident who feed the cats has been incredible. Luckily she's able to watch the traps from her kitchen and she has been active in setting traps, letting out cats that have already been trapped, and covering and shutting the trapped cats up in her shed so they are safe. 13 cats have already been trapped and revaccinated, and that's pretty much all of them.

So don't let anyone tell you you can't revaccinate a colony!

Here's Tom-Tom after being released:

Their sturdy shelters:

One of the trapped torti-cats:

I was going to have to go out this morning to fetch a cat they caught last night, but the rescuer just called and she's going to do it. One less thing to do!

So much to blog, so little time

Wow, am I behind. I am technically on vacation. Vacation implies vacating, which I tend not to do, since my job involves way too much vacating on a regular basis. I had all sorts of plans for things to get done at home, but of course fate intervenes.

First off, the bad news. Bug, one of our sanctuary cats (history: around 8 yoa, trapped at Ithaca College, was adopted even though she was unpettable, got out when a storm blew a door open, took three weeks of trapping in nasty winter weather to get her back again), had a stroke last Thursday. I took her to the vet when I came into the facility and discovered that she had a head tilt and was rolling to the side when she walked. The vet felt it was a brain event (versus the other things it could be) which could mean: will see some improvement, will see no improvement, or could become worse.

So little Bug is in a cage for two weeks to see what happens. Luckily she loooooves her wet food, and she seems to be reacting to being caged as one long dessert. She's scared, but it doesn't stop her from becoming very happy when she hears the pop top on a can of food. The vet wants me to let her out in the cat room now and then so she keeps her bearings there. In two weeks we will reassess.

Perhaps someday this will turn into a post on the "no-kill movement." Little Bug is a dilemma. The only reason I have kept her (she actively dislikes humans) is because she loves the other cats, and seems content in the cat facility. She also gets great joy out of cat treats. Her sulking little body perks up, the tail goes up, and she meows in case you might forget her. I expect when I am not in the facility, she is fairly happy. Nonetheless, she's stuck in this 24x24 place for the whole of her life, and now she is dizzy and confused. And in the time she has been here, she has filled a space that a number of adoptable cats might have used to save their lives.

When people ask if Wildrun is "no-kill" I tell them "no." I don't like being associated with the anger and accusation that has become associated with that movement, although I strongly agree with many of the practices it advocates. Every cat at Wildrun would, 15 years ago, have been euthanized at a traditional shelter, so people assume I am "no-kill." Wildrun originally began taming feral kittens to help lower the euthanasia rate at the local SPCA.

I would say, instead, that I am an advocate of "raising the bar." Another person promoted the idea of "no harm" rather than "no kill" (I wish I'd thought of it). So the bar has been raised for cats like Bug--and perhaps, historically, will continue to be raised--but if she is unhappy, I'm not going to keep her shut up in a cage just to be able to say she's alive.

(this post then began a long ramble into my opposition of Oreo's Law, but I'm in such a hurry it was poorly done, so I'll need to revisit that).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Zephyr is missing on Bald Hill Road, Danby NY

Won't you please keep an eye out for her? Here is her poster, if you live near Danby and and can post it.

Post-note: No, Zephyr is not a Wildrun cat. Periodically people email us in case a lost cat finds her way to us, so I post them for nearby readers.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

More adventures this weekend

I got a call today from a fellow rescuer. A rabid skunk was found in a trailer park where she had fixed all the cats. Bear came from that colony. So all the cats have to receive rabies boosters ASAP. Guess what we'll be doing this weekend? I'll try to be sure to take photos.

If anyone has any traps they have borrowed from me, I will need to call them in immediately. I have only two here, and I once owned 15.

The older litter of kittens are all fixed, and went in for rabies vaccinations yesterday, so next week when I'm vacation I'll be doing a big adoption push. I've had two inquiries even with no bios at all on their Petfinder pet notes, and I'll be getting the rest up tomorrow. I'm going to get all the littlest guys up there too, in case someone would like to pre-adopt them.

If anyone hears anyone so much as whisper they might want a kitten, send them my way! As always, indoor homes only, and no declawing.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

When my fifteen minutes of fame arrive, I'll be in the shower

I live in the middle of nowhere but people do find their way out to me. When they do, inevitably I am in the shower. This happens so frequently I bring Molly in from her porch patrol and lock the door, because I've had people (dog on porch = Susan's home) wander right in, and I have a bad habit of leaving the bathroom door open.

I emerged from my shower yesterday, let Molly back onto the porch, and discovered that Christy and Gordon had been by bearing gifts:

So I sat on my porch enjoying their flowers and produce, lamenting that I had not timed my morning differently so I could enjoy their company as well. The barn cats I just brought home are from their neck of the woods. In fact, they are lucky little calico Jewel didn't decide to have her kittens in their own shed!

If you have flowers or tomatoes in your garden to give away, if there is someone nearby you can think to make a garden gift, you will have brightened up someone's day the way C&G did mine!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Thank goodness

After a long day of hissing, hissing, hissing, at those kittens, Mama cat (who I have nicknamed Jewel, since there have been far too many "mama" cats in my history) finally settled down with me on the bed, relaxed and purring, and didn't object when I brought an already-bottle-fed kitten over. She put up with one, so I added three more, and when she kept on purring and even started licking one, I loaded her up with the whole crowd of seven.

I left her there for a half hour, but I was worried the kittens might fall off the bed. I went back up, moved the kittens back into their nest on the floor, and brought Jewel down to them. She allowed me to settle her on her side and let the kittens come back over again.

So hopefully all is well. I was not particularly looking forward to bottle-feeding and butt-washing seven kittens all by myself.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I know, I know, ten days since the last post.

I'm sure my mother thinks I'm dead. But here, for your viewing pleasure is a little photo essay:

Now I'm off to buy KMR, but hoping we'll catch momma cat so it won't be needed.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Denny's reaches out to homeless pets

(staff photo, Star-Gazette)

It looks like local businesses are all jumping on the adoption bandwagon, which can only be good for homeless pets in the area shelters. Denny's held an adoption event in their parking lot and donated a portion of their profits to the Chemung County SPCA as well.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

BlogPaws gathering in NYC

Hey, I can't make it, but maybe some of my fellow bloggers can. There is going to be a gathering of northeastern pet bloggers this coming weekend in New York City. If you are on Facebook, you can learn more here.

Jane writes:

Hi all! I finally decided to get off my behind and arrange the first pet bloggers get-together for those of us who live in the tri-state area. This is scheduled for the weekend of BlogHer so please invite any other pet bloggers you know who are coming to the area to join us! I expect it to be a nice, small get-togethe...r given that there's not too many of us pet bloggers around, but it should be fun and dog-friendly!

The plan is to meet at 81st and Central Park West Saturday, August 7th at noon. We'll then go into the park and find a nice spot for a picnic, some fun, etc. I thought it would be especially fun if we did a potluck sort of thing so if you RSVP yes please let us know what you might bring to share. Sharing stuff can be for humans, canines (or kitties if we have some adventurous ones) and whoever comes up with something that works for both will get double-points. ;-) Since we'll be sharing, please try to RSVP accurately.

Friends (furry and otherwise) are welcome and very much encouraged so spread the word. I hope to see you there!

If you are not on Facebook and want to attend, let me know and I'll track down another contact for Jane.

A huge thanks from NYS pets to Curtis Lumber and WTEN Pet Connection

I was on the phone with my mother tonight and she mentioned that Curtis Lumber had held pet adoption fairs at all of their stores back in June. I hadn't even heard about them. We don't have a Curtis Lumber near me, but I'm close enough I thought I would have picked up on the press. Apparently not!

The numbers are in, and over 500 animals were adopted! WTEN NEWS10 Pet Connection in Albany provided a $75 voucher for each shelter pet adoption fee.

If you shop at a Curtis Lumber in NYS or Vermont, be sure to tell them "thanks!"

Kitten Photography: An Essay

I have kittens that need homes. I broke out the camera, the feather toy, and draped a chair in the cat facility, determined to complete my mission: capture seven kittens, each in a single moment of stillness.

Yeah, you try it!

Really cute shot! Two seconds earlier, that is:

Come on, kitten. ON the chair, not UNDER the chair:

Finally, an acceptable shot. We need only two more. That should take about...another hour.

Now, you could all take a lesson from Bubby:

Of course, he's only partially tamed and totally petrified. It's pretty easy to take a photo of a frozen kitten.

At any rate, it is a lot of fun. There are worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Pardon me while we clean up a bit

Yes, I know there are birds instead of cats on my template. It was time for a housecleaning on the old blog. It has been awhile since I've done an update. You'll see some changes, so please bear with me.

If you read the Wildrun blog, you have a blog that periodically discusses cat or animal welfare, and would like to be included on my blog roll, please leave your URL in the comments! If I left you off my updated blog roll, please don't be offended. I may have just missed you, or you may not have updated in a long white. Let me know in the comments below and I'll get you back on again!