Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year, 2011

Last year, Longfellow was just a little tyke. The year before that, we had a pom pom drop in the cat facility, narrated by the fishies who are bigger now, too.

This year, I'm headed up to the spare rooms with a wine bottle, paint brush, and the computer set to watch the live webcast from More to come!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Bah, hum.....awWWWWWwwwww"

You just can't be a humbug about Christmas when one of your adopted kittens arrives in the mail on the front of a Christmas card. I'm fairly certain that candy cane wasn't photoshopped in there, and I can just see in my mind's eye, someone slowly easing it under Phillip's paw while he was snoozing...

When your next Christmas card is from a couple who adopted a kitten from you oh-so-long ago and their note says "Amelia is still hanging in there at nineteen and a half, moving slowly, but still moving!" you can't help but smile even wider.

Nineteen years!

When the phone rings, and yet another adopter says "Let's do dinner this week; I have presents for the cats..."


It makes you contentedly brew up a pot of coffee and get to work on that unfinished pile of Christmas cards of your own.

Christmas changes for all of us over the years. From the giddy anticipation of childhood, to the adult glow of seeing loved ones open gifts you carefully chose for them, to years of sadness when you may have faced Christmas alone, to other years when you reach beyond family to the community, and discover the quiet solid joy of volunteering with a food pantry or your church, or sharing dinner with a friend or neighbor.

This year Christmas sort of crept up on me. I did not have my holiday party this year. The most I could muster as far as decorations were my two little out-of-the-box artificial trees, the red bows on the fence in front of the house, and pine boughs in the window boxes of the cat facility. I can't quite comprehend that Christmas is this coming Saturday. When you work from home, there are no peripheral office parties and decorated cubicles, no Christmas trees in the the lobby, no stopping at the store on the way home and greeting the bell-ringers with a dollar a day or emptying the change from your pockets each time you see one (I stuffed a five in the kettle in front of the Big M last weekend, knowing I might only run into them one more time before the holiday arrived). You don't really realize how much you count on the random "Merry Christmas!" and "Happy Holidays!" salutations to pull you into the holiday community, until they aren't really there.

There's just the carols on the radio--which seem sort of disembodied without the rest of the holiday tinsel. And the wonderful, wonderful Christmas cards. Then the Big Day arrives and when you climb in the car for dinner and hugs in some other city. And then it's over. The next day, the carols are abruptly gone from the radio airwaves. Just like that.

But oh, those Christmas cards make a person smile! They are still here after Christmas, too, in a glittering pile on the coffee table.

My own cards will likely be late (maybe not!) arriving in the mailboxes of others. But Phillip and his candy cane sure made the task even more enjoyable.

May your days before Christmas bring you increasing joy!

Other cat rescue Christmas posts:

Black Cat Rescue
Animal Shelter Volunteer Life
Joa's Arc

and just in case you thought having a cat and a Christmas tree was bad, click here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dr. Whitten Wu checks in

Mary Beth writes:

"Just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how the former Ferdinand, now known as Dr. Whitten Wu, or just Whitty for short, is doing.  We're coming up on our one year anniversary with Whitten and he is as friendly and loving as ever.  He has grown into a hulking 13.5 lb cat with the silkiest, most magnificent black and white coat with a pronounced gray undercoat and big fluffy tail.  He greets us with tiny, happy mews every night when we come home, and has successfully taught us to play "cat and mouse" - we have learned to throw the pink toy mousie for the cat when he brings it to us - over and over and over again.  He likes to keep our laps warm and also occasionally begs for a few minutes on our enclosed (but not heated) back porch to scratch on the welcome mat and sniff the breezes.  He's a great cat, thanks again for helping us bring him into our lives."

These are the kind of messages we love to get. 

Whitty is brother to Longfellow and Wiggles below!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Moving into the world of YouTube

I promised the people interested in Longfellow a video of him. My camera requires me to buy and download special software, which I really didn't want to invest in because the video on my camera is pretty poor. So today I stopped at Walmart and picked up a cheap little Flip camcorder.

Even the word "camcorder" scared me. Remember what that used to mean? A great big huge piece of equipment that cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars. I held the little Flip in my hand and marveled.

The software that comes right with the camera is not particularly intuitive. Taking the video was absolutely simple. But after that things got a bit murky. I had to Google things like "how to tell the size of a Flip video" and "how to edit a Flip video" in order to get rolling. Even then it made more sense to create a YouTube channel than save the things.

Yes, we are on YouTube. Heeeeere's Wiggles!

Before taking any video, I vacuumed my floor, which scared all the cats away. Longfellow disappeared (his trip to the vet today might have had something to do with that, too). So much for his career in film.

Hopefully having video of the cats will help with adoptions. I've dedicated myself to getting cats out of here. I'll let you know!

Oh, Longfellow finally came out of his shell:

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Black Cat Three

First Skinny Bear. Then Coyote. Now...well...I think I've run out of names. I called her Porch Kitty when I named her .jpg for her photo.

I've seen her around for a few weeks, but I thought "she" was a "he." She got in a hellacious fight with Bear up in the garden. I've seen her out the fields at the neighbors. She was peering in the window one day, and I was able to leave her some wet food on the porch one night. She ran away, but came creeping back later to eat it.

Tonight I dished out some turkey stew for the cats and for the most part they turned their noses up at it. They aren't big on people food. I looked at the big plate of cat-licked stew and figured I'd take it out to the porch to see if the black cat might come by. It was windy, cold, and snowy outside, and I immediately noticed cat tracks. Good, s/he'd been by!

Then something came yowling out of Bear's cat shelter at a run, winding around my legs. It always amazes me how these cats play shy for months or weeks, and then one day say "ENOUGH!" and come running up for help. Surprised, I set the plate down, and a pretty, plushy, but skinny black cat tried desperately to decide if she wanted to be fed or petted first. She would turn and wind all around me after grabbing a mouthful of food. I copped a feel under her tail and determined that she was going to be a $150 cat instead of a $70 cat. Alas.

What to do with her? I had just emptied the cage in the lower barn. I had just introduced Coyote to the cat facility cats and she was doing well. Her cage downstairs had been empty two whole days.

I brought Porch Kitty into the bathroom and sat down with her. She was mad with happiness. A peek at her teeth showed she was a couple of years old. Coyote's mom, maybe? The two of them abandoned together? Then I saw the ticks. A tick on her chin. One by her ear. Uck! Outside with her! I pulled the ticks I found off with a tick-twister. I carried her down to the barn and we shut out the winter. She explored the downstairs while I set up the recently vacated two-level cage that Coyote had been. I plopped her inside with food and water and went to the house to warm up a Snuggle Safe for her. It beat being out in the howling wind and snow.

Then I came in, threw my clothes immediately into the washer, and took a shower.

I've been toying with the idea of some "BurmaShave" type signs along my road, dealing with abandonment. I think it's time. With my luck I'll probably get cited for illegal signage.

If you can think of any ditties telling people why dumping cats on struggling farm owners is irresponsible and illegal, please leave your poetry in the comment section!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Long distance adoptions

So I got two inquiries on Longfellow this week. One didn't respond after I sent back the application. This  usually means the person has found another cat, or is looking for an indoor-outdoor cat, or is thinking about declawing (which we don't permit). The other line of inquiry continued---from New York City, near Central Park.

It's always interesting when I get emails asking about cats. I always expect the folks to be right next door---people from Owego or Spencer, wanting to adopt a cat. Often, after I reply, it will come to light that the person is 4-6 hours away.

Most are at least 40 minutes to an hour away.

There are Wildrun cats in Germany, France, California, and Florida, but I didn't adopt them to those states. They were adopted close by, and their adopters moved to those remote locations. I have adopted directly to PA, NJ, NYC, and Maryland.

As a control freak, I have natural concerns about long distance adoptions. What if it doesn't work out? What if the people turn out to not be as they seem? What if they were to lose the cat--so far away, how could I look for her or him?

This was Longfellow we were talking about. Longfellow who has been curling up in my elbow for over a year now. Patting my face, purring at my back in my bed, making me laugh with his graceful bounding around the house. I was just looking at Wiggles and Longfellow this week, wondering...are they here for good? Are they another Squeak and Nell--kittens that never left?

Wiggles had visitors this summer, but they ended up adopting a kitten. When they came and Wiggles began lobbying, I realized she would be much happier in a home where she receive the attention a pet cat ought to. Personally, I don't believe a cat ought to have to compete with five other cats for attention. One to four cats is optimal. After that, the love gets hard to spread around.

So after a moment of angst when I saw Longfellow's name in the subject line of two messages, I thought "Yes, he deserves his own home."

So both Longfellow (and Wiggles) are off to the vet next week. They are due to their vaccinations today, actually, and then they'll be good for three years.

And we'll see how it goes with the New York City possibility, for Longfellow.