Friday, September 30, 2011

Last two kittens in the cat facility


and Mariah!

However there are still three big kittens, and three tiny kittens, in the house. More of them tomorrow!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Orzo finds a home

I failed to note last week that on Thursday Orzo was adopted. His adopter ended up on a back-road adventure trying to get here, because a bridge was out, but Orzo is now safely in his home in Vestal (above the flood line, thankfully)!

I'm not certain why most of my adoptions are coming from Owego/Binghamton. I don't mind, because the quality of homes has been great lately. I assume I no longer get inquiries from Ithaca because locals want to support their own Tompkins County SPCA (a good thing!). But it does mean I probably should shift my advertising and outreach to the south.

And for good measure, here is Orzo's brother, Beans.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lots of kitten inquiries, and here comes Autumn

You know fall is here, when your adoptees are trying on their Halloween costumes. Apparently Henry didn't think too much of his cowboy hat (Photo snitched from Audrey's Facebook page)

I've been getting a flurry of adoption requests, and it's hard to answer them because some of them are far away (how far away is "too far away for me to manage?"). It's tough saying "no" to people who are over 2 hours away, because they feel it must be something in their application, when in fact it's just the nature of the beast. If something goes wrong, I have a hard time arranging to get that kitten back. If she gets sick right after adoption, I can't afford to reimburse a vet many states away. If the kitten isn't altered yet, I have to follow up on spay-neuter and, God forbid, what happens if this kitten gets loose, like Tyler did? I have one potential home that is on my way to my sister's recital in Clinton on Sunday. That works out OK because I could visit the home, drop the kitten off, they can spend the day with her, and I could pick her up on the way home if they decided she wasn't a match.

Some people are 5 or more hours away, and they would gladly drive all the way here. If the kitten were altered, I might feel comfortable enough to let them take the kitten that day, if I can speak with their veterinarian, etc. and it is a very friendly kitten. But if the kitten isn't fixed yet, even with the best of adopters, "anything can happen." Heck, the best cat owners I know have had cats get loose through no fault of their own.

And what if the person drove all that way, and I ended up saying "no?" I very rarely say no, but I have in the past when the person clearly is not taking the time to listen to me, is pooh-poohing everything I say ("Oh, I'm sure he doesn't need to be shut up in a separate room. Our dog LOVES cats") or if the person is alarmingly rough with the cat (I've had that happen only once). I know people sometimes don't follow my advice, but I want them to be the kind of person who will at least sit and listen to it respectfully. I can usually get a good sense of a person on the phone before meeting them in person, but that doesn't give me a good sense of their mate or their children.

The general public is also getting more and more used to the idea of "roadside adoptions" (making all arrangements via phone and internet, and taking possession of the pet at a halfway point). Except in very rare circumstances, I am uncomfortable with these. Even if the adoption seems excellent, I don't like promoting the idea that this is a good way to do adoption. It can be in exceptional circumstances, but I am uncomfortable with it as a general practice. I have heard from the local shelters who end up with some of those pets (usually puppies)when the rescue (in a far-off state) can't take the pup back when the adopter gives it up four months later because the cute little pup has grown up into a big boisterous teenager. This is less of an issue with cats but still...adoption is adoption.

What adopters also don't understand is that there is a new kitten market out there. I have had people inquire who want to adopt my cutest dirt-cheap $50 kittens---to "re-adopt" them for $275 in low-kitten areas. This means I end up being extra-careful with legitimate adopters who just want to kitten to adopt. Good adopters don't understand why I'm being cautious--because truly good people don't understand that there are not-so-good people out there.

(If you just thought "Oh my God, people actually do that?" then you know why good adopters are also bewildered).

I've also had people who seemed like good long-distance homes pull out the night before or the day of my drive to their location. "Oh, we found another kitten at our local shelter last night. We'll send a donation for your time and expense." In 100% of those cases, I've never received a donation, and with adult cats, that means I've invested in a follow-up vet exam and second FeLV/FIV test that the cat would not normally have needed. I'm always shocked when this happens, because the person seemed so nice, and so enthusiastic. How could anyone say "Oh, sorry" the morning of adoption. Why did they GO to another shelter if they had confirmed an adoption with me?

There is no point bringing up all these situations with the good adopter who doesn't understand why I'm asking 100 questions of them. They just say "But I wouldn't do that." And they probably wouldn't. But because people have in the past, I have to weigh the well-being of the kitten, any my emotional well-being, against my assessment of their personality via phone and email. It's a tough call.

But let's not get too dramatic. Most often the issue is just spay/neuter. Spay/neuter is the foundation stone of stopping euthanasia in shelters. If a kitten is fixed, I'll even gladly drive them 4-5 hours to an excellent new home, if time permits. But if the kitten isn't fixed, there are too many loose ends and extra worries, and I just don't have time for extra worries. I can adopt an unfixed kitten to a home ten miles from me and know I can pick her up for her spay/neuter appointment that Friday, help find her if she gets lost, or get her to the vet if she starts sneezing two days after adoption. I can't do that when someone is far away.

There are so many kittens out there. We are not yet at the point--as with puppies--where spay/neuter has succeeded so well that someone must reach out a few states to adopt a homeless pup. If there isn't a fluffy kitten on Petfinder this week, there will be a fluffy kitten on Petfinder next week. I really want it to be MY fluffy kitten that people end up adopting, but sometimes it may not happen.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Goodbye Facebook (sort of), Hello Again Blogger

Last week I stumbled across this article that states Blogger is a dying web site.

I love my blog dearly, but have used it less often in favor of Facebook, which is more immediate. Until this week, that is, when Facebook shot itself in its foot by changing its format into this confusing mess that takes away all that was helpful about Facebook. They've split the news feed into "top stories" and "recent posts" and only people I visit frequently show up on the feed (I'm told I can change this, but it has not succeeded for me). They've added a ticker on the right, which means instead of getting all your info in a nice simple stream, you have two places to look.

I feel like the execs at Facebook enjoy herding their faithful users around like cattle every few months. "Let's see what they'll do if we make them go THIS way now..." "HAHAHAHA look at the hits on our help pages!"

Well, I'm not a cow, and cats are notoriously hard to herd. So I'm jumping ship, even though part of my paying job is promoting social media. Blogs are, after all, the very first child of the Social Media concept.

I will use Facebook to keep up on my friends and colleagues who are there. Facebook is still the best, most immediate tool for instant information (vital right now, with people trying to find resources to recover from the flood). But it is now more of a corporate community tool than a personal one, and I find my friends, family, and adopters enjoy the blog more, anyway.

So stuff it. Blogger is far from dead!

I also appreciate the original, simple format of Blogger. I find that the fancier a blog format gets (whether on Blogger or any other hosting service), the less likely I am to read it. I want to click and read. I don't want to have to search around on sidebars, or wade through crap on the top to see if there is an actual recent post.

To those of you who have faithfully clicked here to find nothing day after day, I am committed to posting here again, as well as linking to blogs with a similar focus.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Kitten monsters...but cute ones

Today, Saturday, will be a day of getting things done. I need to get photos of all these kittens to update their Petfinder pages. Their current photos show them as little furballs. I need to follow-up with people who have been emailing about adopting. Things are getting so confusing that I think I need to build an Excel spreadsheet to keep track!

Sunday I plan to be open for adoptions for anyone crazy enough to come all this way to see a kitten they can't pick up yet (because they won't be fixed until next week). Local adopters can take a kitten on foster-to-adopt, and they need to relinquish the kitten when his or her spay/neuter appointment comes up.

Don't you want to have this little paper-shredder in your life?

Yes, Kathy, that is your envelope. Your slings arrived, and I'll post on them today!

Humane Society of Binghamton Needs Help!

From the Humane Society:

The Flood of 2011 forced the Humane Society to evacuate our 2 Jackson Street Binghamton shelter and temporarily suspend operations. All the animals have been relocated and are safe. We are now working on the first phase of the recovery plan in an effort to return to full operations as soon as possible.

We are aware the shelter sustained damage and have received preliminary reports of 4 feet of water in the building. The extent of the damage cannot be assessed until we are able to return to the building.

When we evacuated we were unable to take food or supplies and are in need of the following:

Pedigree adult complete nutrition dog food
Canned dog food
Purina kitten chow
Purina cat chow
Canned cat food
Cat litter
Paper towels
Hand sanitizer
Laundry Soap
Dish Soap
Large heavy duty garbage bags
Towels and blankets
Monetary donations are also needed.

All supplies can be taken to 1946 NYS Rt.12, in the town of Chenango (Next to Allen Veterinary Hospital) where we are temporarily housing the animals. Allen Veterinary Hospital is assisting us with housing some of our animals which is allowing us to provide a more comfortable environment for all of them. We are grateful beyond words!

If you have any questions, please send an email to We will respond as quickly as we can.

The Humane Society would like to thank everyone for their concern and generosity while we, likemuch of our community, rebound from this event.
Thank you.
Karen Matson
Executive Director

In Spencer, NY, Wildrun will accept donations to take this upcoming Thursday when I finally make a run to Schoharie to drop off their donations. I'll go by way of Chenango.

Pauli keeps a pup in line

As I had mentioned earlier, Pauli went off to his new home...just in time to be surrounded by the flood of the century. His house was up on hill, so hopefully his family is safe. I'll send a message off to them today.

Their dog was just too much for small kittens, but Pauli let Enzo know he wasn't going to arch up, spit, and run away like a kitten.

The most perfect kittens in the world

Yes, I have more kittens. A young woman and her mother contacted me with the same old sad story. Someone dumped a cat last year. They listened to the Hater Advice and "didn't feed her, but she stayed" (Hey, Haters, do you know anything about cats? If someone dumps a scared cat out in the country, she's going to stay where there's a roof, not wander off into the wilderness for some mythical food bowl). She had a litter of kittens this spring that survived, and then this second litter that clearly was not going to be able to.

The young woman rescued the kittens and bottle-fed them as best she could (which was pretty good!) and I took them on the condition they get mom and the other kittens fixed.

On the up side, these have been the easiest kittens I've ever raised. The practically feed themselves. They are LOOSE in my bathroom. They stay in their little box on it's side, and then toddle off to a cat box with paper towels in it and use it. The kitten with goopy eyes cleared up almost immediately with eye meds. They roll, purr, and play. If they test negative for FeLV/FIV they will have been the perfect kittens. Knock on wood.

Here is one, eating dinner:

Thursday, September 08, 2011


It's just totally overwhelming. I didn't even know that Candor (just eight miles from me) had gotten totally nailed. And Owego is just drowned.

Post Note: I am fine, and the cats are fine. Some past adopters have gotten flooded or near-flooded or are stuck in their villages due to flooding.

"You've Received An Award!"

Maybe you've received an email like that, and you are pleased and surprised. You put their little html graphic and link on your web page to proudly display that you are a "great cat shelter" or "great cat rescue" or just a downright "great person" or "great blogger."

Sometimes these awards are legit. They will usually mention something about you--an exact blog post you wrote, or something special you did. But quite often they are just a way for you to become a free portal to a web site that hosts Google ads. They want visits to their site generated by your page, so that visitors (your readers) will click on a Google ad and get them money.

That's all. Sad, isn't it?

So the next time your are offered an "award"..go visit the page offering it. If it hosts lots of ads, like Google ads, and especially if the "award" code is on their page available for anyone to pick's no honor. They don't mind if just anyone lifts the code and posts their "award" because all they want is more traffic. They don't want to honor you. They want to use you. You'll often find that these web sites haven't even screened out puppy-mill ads from their Google ads (an option they have), and that this web site that told you that you do such great work rescuing animals, is actually making money from puppy-mill and for-profit breeder ads.

Does that mean anyone hosting Google ads is bad? Absolutely not. Just make sure if you are directing traffic to a site with Google ads, that you are doing so knowingly, and the ads are those you would want your readers to visit.

Last weekend...

I met Stephanie and georg here to get their donations for the Animal Shelter of Schoharie last Sunday. And now it's underwater.

credit Alicia Rieselman, Facebook.

The Take A Break next door must be completely covered.

Worst over for me; worst to come for Owego/Binghamton

The sun started to come up and I went outside to discover what I'm glad I did NOT know last night. The creek had relocated to travel down the road, and dumped back in across my field, just barely flooding the bottom of the barn. I pushed some logs out of the road so traffic could get through, then later this morning went out and shoveled off all of the debris.

If I had seen all that water last night, I would have had a fit. I'm glad I was oblivious.

I had three kittens slated to be altered at Cornerstone today. I was sure I could not get out, but I took my cellphone to check. It was worse than I ever could have expected. I couldn't even make it to the usual "you can finally get a signal here" spot, but luckily I could get two bars right where the flooding took the road, so I could let them know I wouldn't make it.

This creek is normally so small you could travel down it in a kayak (if it were deep enough) and touch either side with your paddle. Seriously. Now it is filling the entire valley.

Time to turn around. I could get two bars here, so I made my calls, took photos, and chatted with the folks who got this far with me.

This is awful

I'm standing outside, and all I can hear is water, water, water as my two creeks roar down my hill. The water churning down those creeks may be carving out bridges and flooding out my neighbors. My house is up on a hill, and water goes through one side of my basement wall and out the other, so I'm in no danger of flooding. But so many others are losing their homes tonight. It's insane and sad.

I've never heard such a roar. All I hear is water coming from the sky, and water coming down the hill. Donna and Tim moved with their animals, and their mom and her animals, into the second floor of their shop. I called my sister last night--she was at a rehearsal miles from home, and I hope she was able to make it back tonight, and that her house doesn't flood yet again.

All these people losing their homes to the water, with insurance that won't pay a dime because flooding isn't covered...

Facebook is a lifeline. It's the only way to find out what's going on, anymore.

Stay safe, everyone. Stay safe.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

I loooove this photo

I got some precious "human" time when I zipped over to Binghamton on Sunday for a donation pick-up at Pete's Legacy Diner. george (Tiger Tom's new mom) was waiting in the parking lot, and Stephanie (ZuZu and Jasper, in the photo) found me when my tiny Kia emerged from the shadow of george's SUV. We had breakfast and conversation, and then she sent me this photo of Z and J. Beautiful, isn't it?

In addition to supplies for the flood region, Stephanie also sent a window perch to replace the beat-up one in the cat facility.

I did not make it to Schoharie this weekend. My power was out at my house on Sunday, and Monday it poured. So I'm aiming for this coming weekend to drop donations at the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Veterinary Practice News

While this is a web page rather than a blog, it looks like they have daily updates, so I'm blogrolling it. I thought others might be interested. It's Veterinary Practice News at

Friday, September 02, 2011

funny pictures - Market research gone horribly wrong
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Pauli gets adopted!

Pauli was dumped here back in March. Now he has a guitar collection, and I guarantee we'll be getting video of him playing tag with the yorkie he's sharing his new home with.

Everyone loves Pauli, and I want to let you know, you'd be happy to see him where he is now!