Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Narnia is lost.

..so please send good thoughts her way.

Rest in peace, little Mac

Mark warned me he had forwarded this to me, but even then I didn't expect to cry, until I read it:

Hi Mark. You probably don't remember me but I was a student back in the late 80's, early 90's and I was...a friend of Sue's. I was trying to reach her but I guess she doesn't work at Ithaca anymore?...I adopted a cat from Sue back in 1992, she named him MacNugget (Mac). I thought she would want to know that I just had to put Mac to sleep this morning. He got diabetes and I just couldn't justify putting him through all those shots and a diet he would probably hate at his age. I just wanted to thank her for letting me adopt him. We had 14 wonderful years together. I used to tell people that I had my cat longer than I had my husband. :-) We just had our 10th wedding anniversary last July.

Anyway, if you're still in touch with her, could you please let her know that? I hope all is well with you and your family. Thank you.

Little Mac. What a sweetie. Very shy, but she adopted him anyway. Fourteen years?

All those cats from the fast food strip. All those years. All those wonderful adopters. Incredible friends. And she is missing her cat, and reached out to someone else she thought would care.

I care, April. I really care. Thank you for letting me know.

Somewhere, I have pictures...

With a name like McNugget, you know where I caught him...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Saturday catch-up work

1) Clean the laptop. My God it's filthy
2) Dishes, because dishes need to be done
3) Anything involving water, because Mark and a friend will be working on plumbing this afternoon. Laundry, shower, better be done.
4) Stew in the crock-pot
5) Clean cat facility and spend some time with Sammy
6) Bank and post office run before noon (whoa, look at the time already)
7) Mop the kitchen floor, because Mark and his friend may be sitting on it while working on the plumbing
8) Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork....

What's your weekend looking like?Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 27, 2006

I love my neighbors

They just called and left a message to find out if Nick were OK since they had not seen him in two weeks. Nick is still caged up in the cage facility, on antibiotics for his abscess.

Nick loves the neighbors. I think he loves the neighbors more than he loves us. And I'm glad they worry about him, too. I'll give them a call.

Actually, today is Nick's last day in hospital confinement. Maybe we'll go over for a visit.

Registration intimidation

(Warning! Warning! "Issues" post)

Wow. This article set me back on my heels. A newspaper decided to print the address of every registered pit bull owner in Commerce City. Reason?

...McIntyre said that most of Commerce City's pit bull owners had already thrust themselves into the public eye by writing letters to the editor or being vocal at city council meetings.

"They lost their privacy when they registered their pit bulls," she said.


(note: the article linked is not in the Gateway, but another paper reporting on the controversy)

And what does this have to do with feral cats? you might ask.

I've long been an advocate of some sort of registration for feral cat colonies. Well, perhaps not an advocate. But if a municipality is insisting on "cat licensing," I felt that registering entire colonies (versus individual cats) with the municipality, was not out of line.

Now I'm not so sure. When we register our associations (via dog licenses, car registration, or even marraige or domestic partnerships for goodness sake) we do so because we are extending our hand in trust to our government. We are proclaiming ourselves part of the community by writing down our names and addresses, and trust that this will be used only by municipal officials. Yes, the dog enumerator could show up at my door tomorrow, and if Sadie gets loose and someone sees her, the DCO will be knocking with a ticket. We know our information is probably available via Freedom of Information if someone submits a request in writing. But I can be fairly sure if someone calls the town clerk and says "can I have a list of all the licensed dog owners in Spencer," the clerk is going to say "What? Why do you want it?" And she isn't going to post it on the town hall door just because she figures every resident has a right to know where the local dogs all are.

What if a newspaper suddenly decided, on their own, that feral cats were a public hazard, and printed the address of every registered feral cat colony? Can you imagine that any feral cat person would ever register a colony again? Can you imagine the distrust that would immediately cause between feral cat colony managers (who are already quite gun-shy) and the muncipality?

Do you suppose any pit bull owner in this city will step forward to register their dog in the future if they think some angry person who just needs an excuse to vent anger could show up on their doorstep? After all, the newspaper has just proclaimed "This is a bad person! They own a pit bull!"

It's not as if these are the addresses of people who have violated a local dog law, or who have been proven to have dangerous pit bulls (i.e. like a sex offender list).

How about printing the address of every registered gun owner?

I absolutely sympathize with the city for trying to deal with a difficult problem. But does the supposed good outweigh the possible damage, with this particular response?

And since when does speaking up at a public meeting or sending in a letter to the editor mean you've given up your right to privacy? Does this paper print the home address of every submittor after their letters? (Running off to check, now. Well, I can't find the Gateway online). We send in our full addresses to the paper so we can assure them we are actual residents. We trust that they will keep this for their own purposes, and that only our town will appear under our letters. Trust. Trust. Trust.

Tiny bit by tiny bit, I continue to see the trustful relationship required for a successful democracy (or what passes as a democracy in the U.S) eroding around us.

Via Dogma.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Love for cats in New Jersey

I got a chance to visit a wonderful cat sanctuary in New Jersey this week. It's called Tabby's Place, and many of the cats have special needs. I came home with my brain spinning with ideas of what I'd like to do in my own place. Posted by Picasa

Remember, you can click on the images to make them larger.

Pardon the reflection, as this photo was taken through the large window in front of one of their cat rooms. These cubbys are wonderful, and are a great way to provide cats with security while still allowing them to be visible to the public. Posted by Picasa

This is Bagheera, who was exercising in his cart when we arrived. His cage is in the lobby. Posted by Picasa

Here he is out with a caretaker for a stroll on a gorgeous winter day. (This is the same trip as my snowy drive. Amazing what a hundred miles will do to the weather, hey?) Posted by Picasa

The window over each cat room has a photo and description of the cats. This is something I could easily do for my cats. Posted by Picasa

Napping..... Posted by Picasa

Oh, maybe I'll wake up now... Posted by Picasa

Yup. I definitely like these cubbies. It's clear the cats like them, too. And that's what counts. I really enjoyed visiting here.  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A home for Sammy.

Yes, I can believe Sammy is sixteen. Still, he's a healthy, big, beautiful sixteen. It's too bad that fate does not give us all the same life clocks, so he could have stayed with his owner for his entire life. But someone has to sorrow. Someone is always left behind. Sammy had a brother who just passed on a few months ago. They showed up as kittens, were fed at the back door, and ultimately were taken to the vet and neutered so many years ago. They came and went as they chose.

His owner is now in a nursing home, and both she and he were lucky to have family that feel that Sammy, and his owner's love for him, are important and vital. I'm told that he was very affectionate with his owner, and even sat on the lap of her son in the weeks while he was trying to convince Sammy to get into a crate to come and live with us. So he likely would be a very sweet cat in a quiet home. He was indoor-outdoor before, but probably should be kept inside now that he is a senior gentleman.

He let me, a stranger, take him from the crate in a towel, and he hasn't offered to swat. He was at the front of the cage when I came in tonight to tuck everyone in, and didn't go back to his bed until I actually had the cage door open.

I think he'll be fine. But he deserves a home. He probably could fit in here in the cat room with the long-termers. But he really deserves better than that.

Thank you all for the comments on the previous post. I thought I was a bit crazy when I agreed to take Sam, but reading the comments I realize most people feel the same. We want to know our pets will be cared for if something happens to us. Posted by Picasa

Synopsis, and more later....

Bought three of these lovely cat fleeces. More on that later! The woman who makes them doesn't have a website to sell them, which is really too bad. My cats gave them an immediate paws up. I took one out to Nick in his cage in the cat facility and he thinks his is pretty cool, too, even though his is pink.

I visited a wonderful cat care and adoption facility. More when I can blog coherantly.

I got a new (used, but fast!) computer for work. Happy Days! You cannot begin to imagine the scary noises my old one was making.

Mark took care of all the cats while I was gone, both the street cats, and facility cats. A "thank you" is NOT enough...

Tonight we took in a 16-year-old shy black cat whose owner has moved to a nursing facility. He's scared, but I would like to find him a place for his twilight years. He doesn't look anything like 16, but family members (who are very involved in his placement, bless them) say they have vet records for his first and only trip to the vet 15 years ago. So he's a robust senior gentleman cat. More on him, later, too! He has a vet appointment February 1st. I forgot to take the camera out to get photos of him, and I doubt he wants a flash in his eyes right now anyway. He refuses to hide in the feral cat den I put in his cage, and prefers the nice warm cat snuggle bed. That's a good sign.

It is after 1AM and I must go to bed.

Posted by Picasa

The way I stay awake on the long drive home

I know where every cappuccino vending machine is located between New Jersey and home. Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 23, 2006

Wasn't it sunny and clear all last week? Of course it began snowing as soon as I got up this morning. It seems like any time I go to New Jersey I experience a weather event. Last time it was a more celestial event. Last spring I drove home in the biggest flood in years. The snow today only lasted to Scranton. It warmed up to rain and the roads were clear all the rest of the way. Posted by Picasa

I always love driving through the Delaware Water Gap. I never get tired of the beauty, and really need to come here when I can spend some time, rather than just driving through at 60 mph. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Watch out, Tiger Tom.

I'm about to go out the cat facility to squish a kitty, because after two solid days of sitting in front of my computer, reading old files, determining what should stay in folders and what should go to Trash, having the computer just die and be resurrected, and knowing I still have to get back on tonight, then get up tomorrow bright and early to drive through a snowstorm to New Jersey.......YES, I NEED TO GO PET A CAT NOW!

Once again I did not even get out of the house the entire weekend. Mark fed the Fast Food Ferals and Gillian. Apologies once again to people I should have seen but did not...hopefully things will get better soon!

See you in a minute, Tiger Tom. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Tails of New York...

...is an excellent shelter blog

Her insight into shelter decisions is illuminating and heartbreaking, without being condemning. When she resorts to harsher words, you get the feeling she is a person who only doles out anger when it is deserved rather than when it has simply overwhelmed her. I'm not quite sure how she manages to kick out such thoughtful posts each and every day, but I for one am glad to have them.

I forgot whose blogroll I lifted Tails of New York from, but thank you, thank you!

Risks of outdoor living

Nick shows off his "Elizabethan" collar in a fuzzy photo taken this evening in the cat facility. He's shut up there in a cage for four days while he is on antibiotics (10 days total) with a drain in his wound (I'm to remove it on day four)Posted by Picasa

And this is what he's gone and done to himself by picking fights with dumped cats. A pretty darned big abscess that required a drain (hard to see, runs from the lower left to the upper right, yellowish white, you can only see the ends). Nick hates it in the cat facility, but he ends up there almost every six months, due to some injury or another. The last time, he was attacked by crows and had his ears shredded. No, I'm glad all of my other cats are indoors cats!Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 20, 2006

More trapped young lions?

in a local savannah? Ah, this is why I lie low, with the cats. Work with the small lions, because the larger ones are so heartbreaking.

Stupid cruelty

Tonight I decided to follow some links on blogs. Which of course, can take you to the Netherword.

I found this which I will tell you outright is a video of a guide bringing a hunter in to kill a trophy lion, and the lion's attempt to avoid them, and then his strike back when he realizes he is doomed.

If you want to see power, you will see it here, but the lion loses in the end.

I watched this over about three times. I don't know why. I think because it symbolized the human attitude toward nature as well as tragedy. There is nothing but respect and sympathy and grace and power when you watch the lion. However, the humans degrade into terror (blasting away at the lion indescriminately when they suddenly realize that, gosh, it ain't so helpless, is it), and the rather frantic laughter afterward, and the absurd congratulations and backslapping, when the lion is safely dead. And then, of course, all of us watching the video. What do we take away from it?

I wonder what the hunter took away from it? That strong but outmatched creature, coming straight at him, fighting for his life? The fact that he, the hunter, survived by chance, and that wise (tried to walk away) and brave(struck back when there was no other option) creature, who went down fighting, was butchered, not for survival or meat on the table, but a trophy and the thrill of killing something.

Without the guns, we are nothing much. We like to say humans are superior, except the majority of us couldn't build a gun if we had to...or even a bow. On our own, we'd have to learn all over again, if we survived so long. We are living on the legacy of humans before us who hunted to survive. It seems to me, when we hunt like this, we abuse that legacy. Why is there that drive in humans to take more than we need? Why is that hunting was never allowed to become a sensible and needful pursuit--the hunting of the caribou by the wolf or the gazelle by the lion--but always has gone so far, into a personal glory and abuse?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

200 cats taken from DeWitt home

When you read what the Central New York SPCA is dealing with, you end up asking, do I have space to offer?

Shelters reached out to help southern shelters during Hurricane Katrina. Can they reach out to help this shelter now that it is overwhelmed with over 200 cats?

I just sent an email offering to take two cats, in return for two cats I have adopted to a DeWitt resident (Hi Linda!). The email bounced back to me, "Over quota." I hope they are over quota because people are offering to help. I will re-send tomorrow night, to see if it gets through.

Two cats seems like nothing when you are looking at 200 cats. But when you are a staff member deciding who lives and who dies, two cats more cats saved can be the line between sanity and nightmares. Best of luck to them.

I need to get over myself

The above kittens are not new kittens. They are from the very first feral cat colony that we trapped, neutered, and returned in 2001. We bottle-raised these guys and found them homes. They are symbolic to me, in more than one way.


If you see someone is stuck on the other side of a wide chasm, and they are going to die from some vast threat bearing down on them if they don't jump over to you on the other side, is it so bad to say "You can do it. I did it! If I did it, so can you!"

Even if you didn't really jump, yourself?

Perhaps someone on the other side tossed you a rope when you yourself needed to get across. Or maybe there was a log, and the log fell after you crossed and is no longer there for your friend to use. Or maybe you never were on the other side at all! But you know it's possible the chasm could be jumped, and your friend is going to die if he doesn't try.

Is it so bad to lie, to get him to save himself? "I made it! You can to! Jump!" And your friend jumps. And he's safe. Maybe he almost didn't make it. Maybe he got hurt. At least he's alive. That's good, right? What's a little fib compared to your friend's possible death? Maybe he would have jumped if you had just said "Jump! I'll catch you!" But you can't be sure. Maybe he would have been too scared to jump if he didn't believe you made it first.

But what if you really start to believe that you jumped the chasm? What if you forget about that rope or that log, and you never mention it to anyone even after your friend has jumped after you?

What if you start to boast about your jump, and to criticize those who are afraid to jump in the future?

Because, after all, you did it. Why can't they? Cowards, they are, if they won't try!

But you really. Didn't. Jump.

Maybe telling people about the rope or the log would make it safer for those who follow. But you would have to admit you fibbed. You'd have to admit you needed help. That you didn't just leap under your own power.


There is someone who makes me very angry, because he is calling a lot of people cowards. He is urging them to jump, claiming he jumped himself. Fact is, he didn't. He did a lot of good, and he did jump some amazingly high hurdles, but this was one chasm he didn't jump.

For some reason, I can't let go of this anger. Every time I hear him say to the public "Jump, jump! I did it, why can't you? You are a coward if you won't jump" it drives me into a fury. I should be over it by now. What does it matter, if he really believes he did this thing? If he makes people jump, and saves lives, why do I care if it is based here and there on smoke and mirrors.

Why do I care?

Pet a cat. Let it go. Let it go.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Truckload of kitties

I got up bright and early today to bundle up three cats and get them to the vet. Pinky and Hops are both headed in for FeLV testing, vaccinations, and neutering. Nick is going in to get that abscess checked out. I used the clippers to shave around it, and it's pretty deep. I'm not going to mess around with an abscess in the chest area.

When I got in, the vet and vet tech's eyes lit up when they saw Pinky in the trap. He is a gorgeous cat, and pictures don't do him justice. Ellen asked if he were up for adoption. I told her he has been an indoor cat (she takes wonderful care of her outdoor barn cats).

(I took Pinky in in a trap because he could then be anesthetized through the wire. It's hard to handle a strong shy scared cat in a plastic crate).

Even though Pinky is incredibly shy, and so strong that if he takes it in his head to squirm, you have lost him, I think he's a candidate for a pet home sooner or later. He may actually be OK as a barn cat, given how much he loves other cats. I'll have to think about that.

If to become a house cat means him spending two years here to tame up---and he can be adopted into a good place as a cat on a horse farm faster---a barn home is a possibility. Especially since he doesn't like people, but does like cats. However, as an indoor cat he'll probably live many years more.

The question is: what would make him happier in the long run? It would be awful to keep him here and discover he will always be too afraid of people to live happily in a house.

No hurry on that question. It's too cold to consider caging him up in a tack room anyway. We'll wait to see what his personality is like once his hormones calm down.

Post-note: Vet called. Nick's abscess was deep, and he needs a drain. Poor Nick is going to have to be caged up with an Elizabethan collar. I'm sure that will just thrill him. Good thing I didn't try to "go it alone."

While he's under I asked them to scrape his teeth. May as well take advantage of this little nap!

Monday, January 16, 2006

This is Hops. Check out the toes. Hops is an example of the "one step forward, two steps back" rule. A couple came by to adopt a cat and decided on Ben. They went home to get everything settled for him, and on the way they rescued two abandoned kittens. So instead of an adoption, we got a foster home! Hops is ready to be fixed, but he's not so happy about being on his own away from Barley (who is female and will be spayed when I can get another slot at the vet). He and Raphael (Pinky) will be going in bright and early tomorrow for neuter, vaccinations, and FeLV testing.  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Carnival of the Cats

Ditz says, visit the Carnival at Niobium this week! Check it out. Posted by Picasa

And hey, don't forget to add yourself to our Frapper map over there on the right!

Hamsters take a stroll...

This is an old story from last September that I stumbled across today. It reminded me of my own run-in with a roving hamster.

I had gotten a call in the middle of the night for some wildlife problem or another, and I was driving through Danby on Bald Hill Road at about 2:00 am. Just before I got to the intersection of Bald Hill and 96B, something white waddled into the road in my headlights. I was going pretty slow so was able to hit the brakes.

What the %$#@??? I'd had animals run in front of me before, but I wasn't mentally prepared for a tiny white ball of fluff motoring from left to right, straight across the icy pavement.

I pulled on the brake, left the engine running, and went out into the snow. There in the middle of the road, blinking into my lights, was a very fuzzy white hamster with brown splotches. I scooped him up and went back to my truck. I don't recall what I did with him. I imagine I put him in a pillowcase, which is what I usually carry when I encounter animals that are too small for a cage or may injure feathers.

The next day I checked with the people who lived in that area, and posted some absurd flyers that said "Found. Hamster." The village store was right at that intersection, and I posted a flyer there, as well. The store owner thought the story was a hoot.

No one called. How far could a lost hamster possibly wander from home? Was he abandoned? Would someone really dump a teddy bear hamster in winter, right in the middle of a hamlet?

I told the tale to my neighbors, who said they had been thinking about getting a hamster for their son. I was happy to turn him over to them. They bought him all the usual hamster toys. That hamster lived almost four more years.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Okay. That was fun. I've had enough collar-making. I think I may make a really really fancy one for Nick the barn cat, so when he goes over to visit the neighbors they get a good laugh.

This was a nice distraction. I don't often "play" anymore.Posted by Picasa

Ummmm...does this mean she likes it?

I decided to play around with the collars. And I have to tell you, that glitter glue is a pain in the #$%. It takes absolutely forever to dry. So I ditched it and just used the hot glue gun.

Ditz has never worn a collar, but she just curled up and went to sleep after I tugged this over her head. I can write their names OK with the glitter glue, but I'm flopping big time with the phone number (the most important part). Making an eight just isn't working out. Posted by Picasa

I got lost today...

...looking for the NYSWMA meeting. I finally found the place. The directions should have said "look for the parking lot full of trucks and ladders."

It was great to see everyone again, even though I arrived a bit late and had to leave before I could say "hi" to everyone I hadn't seen in...two years? I didn't realize how much I missed them all. I'll need to put the second Saturday of every month on my calendar from now on, for a quick hike to Syracuse. The seminar is in February only a few miles from me, so I'll be there as well.Posted by Picasa

Rat blog!


I love rats. I started to write a post on rats, but because my first contact with them was in lab animal research, it really deserves more time than what I can give here this morning (I have written and erased two posts). So go on over there and learn something about the ratty community.

I am off to Syracuse for a NYS Wildlife Management Association meeting. I haven't been to one in ages. Their annual seminar is next month right nearby in Owego so I'd like to sign up to help. I'm not sure what the registration fee is so I'd better find out so I bring along enough cash to register. I'm sure I'm behind in my membership fee, too.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Reason number 68 not to let your cat outside...

Remember that little tiff Nick had the other night? Well, Mark noticed him licking his chest, and we discovered that he had a broken abscess on his chest. It appears to be draining fine, so I'll clip the fur (oh, I'm sure he'll love that!) and put some triple antibiotic it once he's napping. We wondered why he was spending so much time napping during this gorgeous weather these past few days. He's probably had a bit of a fever, and I'm sure it hurt, too.  Posted by Picasa

You know how when you try to read the newspaper, and your cat sits on it? Well, not much has changed with technology. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Throw the parents in...

I can't believe this?

They knew their child was going to throw that ragdoll of a trusting kid-safe cat into the pool. And they thought it was cute. And when he or she sets a cat on fire one day for giggles, we'll all be blaming the kid, and sympathizing with the poor, poor parents.

If I had given any intention of doing something like this, my parents would have been a solid wall between that pool and myself.

When I was a kid, my dad was what is now called an AI technician but back then was called a breeding technician. Yep. He made baby cows. And I tagged along. The paws of kittens would accumulate lime in the barns. I would try to wash them off. The kittens were understandably distressed by this. I was trying to help them, but I was reprimanded for being cruel when they mewed their distress at having paws dipped in a milk can of water to soak off the balls of lime. Another time, I was mimicking the mews of kittens near the cow stantions as my dad tossed down hay from the mow. He thought I was picking on them (I guess I was a good mimic), and yelled at me to stop. I feel in both of these cases my parents misunderstood the situation (which is probably why I remember them so clearly)... BUT...what impressed me then and now was that they were teaching me that distressing animals is incredibly wrong. We might kill them. We might milk them. We might eat them. We need to examine whether or not these things are wrong. But terrifying an animal and jeopardizing its life for fun requires no examination. It is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

Amazing how fast they dropped that camera when it was the toddler who ended up in the water. It appears it is not so funny when it's a little human instead of a little cat.

No caption required

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