Monday, February 27, 2006

Dog bloggin'

Yes, she's 12, has bad hips, weighs 56 pounds, and still thinks she ought to be a cat. And she can really do a number on a rat: Posted by Picasa

Note the highly energetic Nick asleep on the dog bed. Posted by Picasa

News you can use...

Whoa! What rock have I been under?

Barb of Feral Cats in the News shares the link for Google news search at Key in "feral cats" and...oh my.

It's way cool (I Googled "composting" for the benefit of my husband and discovered a spate of compost/chicken carcass/bird flu articles. Mark was playing with Sadie the dog with a big stuffed rat and I'm sure he thinks I'm just yammering at the cats again).

Although I miss getting the latest articles from Barb every day, I'm happy to have cat news at my fingertips once again!

Be sure to check out FCITN for the resources that are accumulated there.

Thanks, Barb!

(oh look, Google news has been available since 2002, apparently. I have been under a rock).

Sunday, February 26, 2006

What's this, Lady?

Be thankful you didn't have to find out, you little furballs!

That's the kerosene heater.

Tonight while I was working on my desktop, suddenly everything else went off. My battery backup kept the desktop and modem alive, but it's only good for five to ten minutes so, cursing, I shut everything down.

Mark checked the kerosene heater in the Great Room in case we needed it, I fetched more wood and lit candles, and Mark lit the oil lamps. We sat for awhile, enjoying to laziness of a power outage, until I looked out at the dimming evening and said "Well, it's time to turn the lights back on again."

Because of course, once I went out and lugged the cat facility heater up the stairs, fueled it, and lit it, the power would come back on.

I waited twenty minutes and finally gave in. The heater was, luckily, empty. I carried it upstairs, put the "run" cats back and let the "cat room" cats out and propped the cat room door open so the heat could get to the entire facility. I then brought up the fuel, and began to fill the tank.

As soon as I switched the "On" button for the little battery-operated fuel pump, the power came on.

Told ya.
Posted by Picasa

Hi! We Have Rats!

Yesterday, as I was headed home, I stopped by a McWendyKing and was idling in the drive-thru lane. I usually check for signs of cats. This particular restaurant was pretty bare of cat-habitat. However, it's obvious to me, and to every customer who drives by, that they have a rodent problem.

Now, most restaurants have to deal with rodents on some level. But I am constantly amazed at pest control companies who throw these bait boxes for poison right out where customers can see them. To the right was a thick holly bush where that bait station could have been placed along the wall, and no one would even know it was there.

When I first got involved with cats on the fast food strip, I was in the drive-thru and saw a big old cage trap sitting out in the hot sun in public view. You don't trap that way. You just don't. The shelter doing the trapping was affronted when their trap was constanted tripped and finally stolen. If I saw a cat bashing back and forth right out in the open in a trap in the sun, I'd be getting involved, too. I probably would place the cat in the shade and start making phone calls to find the trapper, but one can't blame a member of the general public for letting the cat out and thinking bad thoughts about the restaurant.

After I started trapping at that site (after asking the permission of the restaurant and the shelter) I met the person who was letting cats out. It was a staff member. Turns out, no one from management had bothered to tell the staff they were supposed to call the shelter when a cat was caught. The staff thought the shelter would be checking the trap. When no one called the shelter, and no one arrived to pick up the cat, this staff member felt bad and released the cats.

Can't hardly blame him. He was very helpful to me, and gave me descriptions of all the cats in the area. This was back in the days when the adult cats were being put down, and the kittens were being tamed and adopted. This gentleman accepted that the feral adults were being killed. What he objected to was them being left to sit out in the open, terrified, bashing back and forth.

In other words, everyone in this situation--the shelter, the restaurant management, and the staff member--agreed that the cats should be removed. But because of poor communication, the project was entirely unsuccessful.

When my wildlife control acquaintenances get to talking about cat trapping, they'll almost invariably assume that if cats are released from traps, it's being done by "animal rights activists and cat wackos." The heck it is. It's being done by average ordinary human beings who either misunderstand the situation, or recognize a poorly done job when they see it. Sure, activists may get involved in high-profile cases, and if you try to trap-and-kill cats who are actively being cared for, you are likely to get formal opposition. But in most cases, "opposition" comes from the average, caring, person who just happens to be walking by and sees a panicked animal in a trap in public view.

Even when traps are hidden, you need to keep in mind that critters make noise. I had traps set for kittens on a cold snowy night. The traps were behind bushes, and they were difficult to reach. However when I stepped out from my office to check the traps, they obviously had been entered, and whatever had been caught was released. There were kitten tracks and human tracks there. Someone obviously had heard the kittens mew, assumed the traps were "meant" for wildlife, and let the kittens go. Since then I have posted signs on the approaches to my traps, that kittens and cats are being rescued, with my cell phone number. I don't want people thinking cats are in trouble in my traps, when in fact releasing them will likely condemn them to death.

Whose fault was this? Not the students who released the kittens. Let's face it. They were motivated by (misplaced) concern for the kittens. They didn't know that those kittens would be tamed and placed in warm, safe homes. It was my fault, for failing to either monitor the traps constantly, or for failing to post signs and be accessible. Since I've begun placing signs on and before all of my traps, I've never had a cat released.

(Note: coyotes, dogs, and raccoons can't read signs. If you leave a trapped animal exposed to risk by other animals, it can be killed. I learned this when I put a pigeon in a trap in my old barn overnight, thinking the trap would keep it safe from marauding creatures. I was wrong. There was nothing left the next day but feathers.)

Sharing my stupidity so you don't need to make the same mistake.

When working with problem animals, communication is important. People who need information should be included, and people who don't (customers in the drive-thru) shouldn't have traps and bait stations in plain view screaming out "There's A Problem Here!" Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 24, 2006

You must...

watch this. It is just...wonderful!

Thank you to Dogma for sharing this story I had missed, in my own New York.

Followup article here

Wake-up call

I have been privileged to be involved in an almost all-male wildlife association for 14 years. The members--my friends--have treated me with utter respect...even when they disagree with me. I recognize that as the only woman, I do fill somewhat of a "mascot" role. It's safe for them to give me a bear hug or call me "Susie" (and fitting for me to exclaim in mock outrage "Susie?") because they know me. It's a joking acknowledgement to the difference in our genders (and in some cases, our ages), but when it comes down to work...ideas, results...and our distant but real friendship...gender has nothing to do with it.

Imagine my surprise today when, manning the registration desk for a conference that includes members of the profession from other states, hosted by the association to which I have belonged since its very first meeting 14 years ago, a gentleman perhaps ten years my junior walked up to register and---by way of introduction---starts off by saying "So, are you someone's wife?"

I kid you not.



One of the top givers...

...listed here, are David and Cheryl Duffield of Maddie's Fund:
David and Cheryl Duffield—$95 million to Maddie's Fund. David Duffield, 65, founder of the PeopleSoft software company and his wife, Cheryl, gave $93 million to Maddie's Fund, an animal-welfare foundation in Alameda, Calif., that they started in 1999. All of the most recent gift will go to the foundation's endowment, which will now total $293 million and will be used for grants to groups that promote the well-being of dogs, cats, and other animals, as well as to support groups that spay and neuter pets, and to veterinary colleges that maintain animal-shelter programs. The couple gave an additional $2 million to arts organizations, education and community groups, and environmental charities in Northern California and Nevada.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

A little bit of New Mexico in New York

Last week my aunt sent me some more of my father's possessions, from Alaska. My father, who has Alzheimers, has moved here from Alaska to New York. My family originally lived in Michigan, moved to New Mexico, and finally to Alaska. Somehow my parents (and we kids) ended up farmers in New York.

In the latest shipment from my aunt was a watch that had been shown to me as a child. Every family has a few little legends, and this watch was one of ours. It belonged to a historical figure in New Mexico. I had no idea it would be in the box mailed to me.

What did I do? I got on the internet. And looked. And looked. And looked. And it appeared the "historical figure" did not exist. I found a reference or two, and then suddenly I must have punched in the right keywords, because I found a single history book that had not only a chapter on this historical figure, but my great aunt, who was a poet in New Mexico.

So I bought the book. It arrived today.

Turns out the watch-owner was a beloved and colorful fraud, who wasn't who he said he was, and his actual family may never have received any of his possessions after he died. And the chapter on my great aunt was very short, and full of "it is assumed" statements. And here I sit with all of her personal diaries from a hundred years ago.

The book was published in 2003, and I've been sitting with these diaries for over ten years. I feel like I've stolen a bright little chunk of New Mexico's history. How much longer would my aunt's chapter had been, had the historian had the diaries that she wrote her entire life?

So I need to talk to my sisters about what we have, and where it should go. This watch, especially. It doesn't belong to us, really.

Irony? Click to enlarge that photo and check out the watch fob. It's a beaded cat. Yes, a cat. There is also a dog below it.
.Posted by Picasa

Rest up now, kitties!

Busy weekend coming! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

On execution...

I don't believe I understand. How is it that we can kill animals humanely, but we can't kill a humane humanely?

Skipping here the very key question as to whether or not we ought to be killing humans, I'm not sure why a machine hasn't been rigged where a needle could be inserted in a vein, and then the machine triggered to administer a barbituate at the proper rate. I don't understand why we are administering a three-step process that involved paralyzing agents.

We manage to subject humans to hours of invasive (painful) surgery without them feeling pain. How is it that we cannot push a human over the edge of the great beyond without screwing up?

I assume, from the article above, that much of the problem with purposeful humane killing of humans by other humans, is that the caring kind of experienced humans you need to administer the process are morally opposed to being involved. From an Amnesty International page:
... lethal injection increases the risk that medical personnel will be involved in killing for the state, in breach of long-standing principles of medical ethics.

And, the person being killed is often unwilling. They aren't lying on a guerney awaiting surgery that is intended for their own good. Even if they are resigned to dying, they might change their mind at the last minute. Or they could move just enough to pull a needle from the vein, and drugs that don't hurt in a vein often can cause pain in surrounding tissue. (I'd twitch, damn it). Therefore restraint must be involved for even the most cooperative subject. Restraint can be as painless as possible, but restraint, by nature, is never humane. It raises the blood pressure on the best of us, even in the most benign situations.

There is a reason for the caracature of the executioner in the black hood. No kind person aspires to be an executioner--if fact many kind people have taken an oath specifically preventing them from killing--and a person who wants to be an executioner is not the kind of person you would necessarily want in the job.

This is true in the animal shelter and vet profession as well. You want caring people to be there when a pet must be put down. But killing animals--especially for merely being unwanted-- can drive a caring person over the edge.

But still, if a person is taking responsibility for the three-step execution procedure we have now, can't we make this procedure as humane for humans as it is for animals euthanized by a vet?

I'm guessing that question is entirely too simplistic.

There are better minds than mine bent upon this question.

If there weren't pictures, I'd call you crazy.

Moscow Cat Theatre

Another outdoorsman is gone

Jack Ford has passed away.

Mark sent me this from work today, and Jack Ryan, a wildlife rehabber, left a message for me today. Jack Ford was another of the old guard outdoorsmen. Hunter, trapper, and likely to be there if someone needed help getting a critter out of a pinch. It may seem odd to call a trapper to aid an animal, but there you go. Trappers were (and often still are, although they are now often involved in "wildlife control") the only people with the calm understanding to get a wild animal out of trouble, and the connections to find a rehabber who could help it, if need be. Or who had the resolve to humanely kill the injured creature and the legal authority to do it, if needed. While I have found myself in more than one spirited debate with local fur trappers, I have never been treated with anything other than respect and great kindness.

I never knew Jack had been a Marine, but I'm not surprised. Perhaps we should all write our own trial obituaries now, so our friends might learn about us before we pass on.

Jack retired from wildlife control about...what...twelve years ago? He was primarily a phone acquaintence. A person I called for help or for answers. My thoughts go out to his family, and to his friends and colleagues. And a special thanks to whomever wrote his obituary. It was clearly written with love and the hope that anyone who read it would remember the words, and remember Jack.

It says something special about this family that they listed Jack's close friends as survivors.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mark and I just spent twenty minutes howling over this site. There are about ten really good ones in the crop. Check out their coffee mug. And their "contact us" page.

I found it via one of the blogs on the blogroll but I can't remember which one! (Next day: it was Ancodia)

Quick spay video!

...on Animal People! Thank you, Cat Welfare Society, for pointing me in the right direction!

This 60 minute video is in installments. Links are down the right column.

I would add one caveat to the kitten spay. The kitten should completely recover to normal kitten playfulness within a day (the kitten should not be encouraged to play, however, we know kittens! The kitten should WANT to play). Any lethargy at all should be reported to the vet. You should not follow our normal human inclination to "wait a day or two to see whether he will pick up a bit" if a kitten seemed tired, won't play, or starts out bouncy and then gets lethargic a day or so later.

With these new anethesia and spay procedures, most lethargy would not be due to the procedure. It might be due to stress, infection, or unnoticed problems (parasite load, incubating illness etc.). When kittens are sent home with laypersons, it is very important to make them feel comfortable about calling back or going to their own vet (if the kitten was spayed at a clinic that does not provide ongoing care) if they notice a problem. It's normal for your adult cat to be sore and perhaps a bit stressed and pissed off at you after a spay. There is emotional baggage with an adult cat that can translate into sulking, etc.

Kittens (unless feral) usually don't sulk. A sulky post-spay kitten is a kitten that needs a look-see by a vet.

I have run into a few situations where people got their kittens fixed at "free" clinics where the kittens died afterward. This was probably due to being unthrifty before the surgery, or acquiring an infection from being crated right next to a sick kitten. I myself, when clinics were new, had infection run through my entire facility because of a bug picked up at a clinic where probably 30 kittens were all set on the floor in crates next to one another, from three different shelters, and some kittens were sneezing, with weeping eyes.

Experienced clinics have learned to keep populations separate, and cover the crates and cages. But I've been to clinics where covers I've put over my cats in traps have been pulled back by students and left off (I've been volunteering, so I go back and pull the covers over them again), or where volunteers checking the cats have gone from cat to cat without washing their hands (and even when we do, how effective is this fast wash?) checking the cat's gums.

When working a mass clinic, unless the cat feels very cold or is not waking up fast enough, don't touch his or her mouth, eyelids, etc. if you are checking a multitude of cats. You will spread disease from cat to cat. Making sure the recovering cat is wrapped in towels, and checking body heat, giving massages, adding gentle warmth via rice socks, etc. is more effective. I know it is "routine" to touch an eyelid to check for a twitch, or look at gums for proper color. But if the cat seems to be recovering OK, subjecting multiple cats to this is not a good idea. If a cat does not seem to be waking up, wash and DRY your hands before poking around near mucus membranes.

When small kittens recover from surgery, they are immediately fed so they don't become low on blood sugar. This usually means poking wet food or Nutrical into their mouths. It's a messy and slightly hilarious business. One volunteer should handle one litter. They should never handle two kittens from different sources (two different homes or shelters) at the same time, when they are poking their fingers into one kitten's mouth and then the other.

Cover crates and traps pre and post surgery with multi-population clinics.

Inform owners that they should take a kitten to the vet if it does not recover to full bounciness within 24-48 hours. Do not wait!

Volunteers should keep fingers off eyes and mouths of cats while working "recovery." When you must check membranes, wash between cats, or between kittens from different shelters or homes.

(And let's not pick on mass clinics. These are issues at standard vet hospitals as well. For goodness sake, if you bring in your kitten for a healthy pet visit, leave it in its crate in the waiting room, and don't sit right next to the woman with the sneezing cat! And don't let people who have brought in their sick pet, pet your kitten. Leave him in his crate and, quite frankly, cover the crate entirely, especially if you are coming into the clinic late in the day when countless sick animals have paraded through).

If you are bringing a sneezing or coughing cat into the vet, COVER THE CRATE! Don't let your rescue animal or pet spew bugs all over the other pets in the waiting room. Do what you can to reduce infection of other pets.

All learned the hard way. So you don't have to.

Pets on parade... Mardi Gras via Burningbird.

This is very cool...

...and thank goodness I can't come up with a single reason to to justify purchasing something like this even though I tried really, really, hard to come up with one. The businesses uses on their examples page are pretty neat.

Via 2 Board Alley.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

City of Ithaca clan

I ran into Sara, who cares for a colony in Ithaca, in Wegmans a month or more ago. I promised to bring by new straw for her shelter box. Of the original 22 cats captured in this neighborhood swarm in 2001, only one remains. A new cat has shown up, so Sara is feeding two now. I had to run into town to fill up the food can for the Fast Food Ferals and finally remembered to toss some straw in the back of the truck for the ithaca shelter. (Donated straw--thank you!)Posted by Picasa

It was clear from the round nests in the old straw that two cats were using the box. I left the nests intact and added new straw to the bottom and on the sides. With the weather so cold, I didn't want them to have to start over. Posted by Picasa

It's hard to believe that this refurbished house, shed, and lawn nearby were once run down, and that the lot was full of tall grass and old vehicles. The shed, which is in the process of being sided here, had seven four-week old feral kittens living in it (pictures down below), and we found long-dead cats under the junk inside it. They were just bones and fur-felt. Very grim. Whoever owns it now has done a nice job of fixing it up. And the only cat tracks appear to be those of the two cats living with Sara now.

The previous owner and tenants of this house and lot never fed the cats. The cats living in this house were all fixed and confined indoors. But a person fed cats behind them for years, and then disappeared. This house had the shelter where cats could hide. Sara, who lived a few doors down, saw the cats were hungry and began feeding them. She did so in a very neat and orderly fashion, putting out paper plates in her back yard, and picking them all up and throwing them away when the cats had finished.

I had gotten a call on this area back in 1997 or so when the original person was feeding. I never found or met him. But because the only option then was to put the adult cats down (and I would tame and place the kittens) I could only get permission to trap on one property, and that lot was fenced and recently got a new puppy, so it was not an effective or safe trapping spot. No one else wanted to be know as the local "cat killer," and can you blame them? Certainly the unknown gentleman feeding the cats on a vacant lot (that backs this area) didn't want his cats put down. He was trying to save their lives. I ended up cut off at every turn, and was unable to help in any form.

A police officer called me in 2001. She had offered to pick up an orphaned kitten and arrived to find a whole swarm. I don't recall who she got my number from. (It occurs to me now I haven't spoken to her in years. She was seriously injured on the job and other than a few phone calls, I haven't been in touch. I must track her down).

When I pulled up in my truck and realized it was the same place I'd failed a few years back, I was a bit riled up. My reaction? If you refuse to let me put them down, then you damned well better care for them right! Of course, there was no person to yell at, because it was no ones fault. It was a neighborhood issue, and the people who had abandoned the original cats were long gone. All that was left were people who cared but didn't know what to do.

That's what's hard about most feral cat problems. The guilty party is long gone. He or she dumped the cats and ran. What you have left are people who either care about the cats and want them put out of their misery, or people who care about the cats and want them saved. Or both.

This is often all I see of the cats at the colonies where I provide backup support, because I'm seldom there, and I'm not feeding the cats. I promise to come back and trap new cats, try to provide shelters and bedding, and will take the cats should something happen to the landowner that they or their family members can't care for them. Posted by Picasa

I both smiled and shook my head when I saw this (photo above). This is the basement where some of the cat were living in 2001, in addition to the old shed. One rainy weekend I was called at midnight when the landlord heard squalling down below. He brought up two fly-egg covered kittens that were siblings of two kittens I'd been called for earlier in the day, found outside in the rain by a tenant. The next day I came back to make sure all of the cats were out of the basement, set some traps to be sure, and blocked off the access to the basement. For a few days it was rigged as a one way door, so cats could get out of the basement but could not get in. Then I used cement blocks to shut it off, and suggested to the landlord that he get it permanently fixed. Over three years and another owner later (who likely has no idea of the catty past of his/her house), after the house has been redone and even re-sided, the basement hole still exists with my "temporary" patch. All if would take is a passing kid to steal the cement blocks for other purposes to let a new stray cat (or skunk or raccoon) in. This is why cat problems--and wildlife problems-- exist. Posted by Picasa

Here are the kittens, two of whom were found in the basement mentioned above. 14 kittens were removed for adoption, one adult was tame and went to the SPCA and was adopted, and seven adult cats were returned. One injured a paw and was retrapped by myself. He tamed up in confinement and was adopted. A year later, four remained. They were all re-trapped for rabies boosters. One remains now, with a new cat. So a neighborhood that had been help captive by feral cats for over ten years now only has two cared-for cats walking about. Posted by Picasa

These are five of the kittens from the shed. It seems so long ago! Posted by Picasa

Kittens are the key to TNR. People say "What's the point of just putting them back out there?" But of 22 cats, only seven went back because kittens and "friendlies" could be adopted, and someone was there to watch for new cats. When you just ignore the problem, all of these kittens would have grown up feral, adding to the population. When you haul them all off to be killed, no one will report new cats when they see them. They think "If they are going to die anyway, I may as well just let them have their chance." And the problem continues. Offering spay/neuter as an option can fix a problem like this.

Because we do promise ongoing support, when Sara's daughter, who lives around the corner, reported that she had a feral mom cat and kittens living under a bush at her home, I came out and caught these guys last summer. People need to have someone to call. If these guys had been left to run wild, would they be over at Sara's adding to her work, when her work should be over? Posted by Picasa

This was the very first colony I managed via trap/neuter/return. I didn't believe in it at the time. I didn't want to do it. I was totally pissed off at the SPCA for no longer taking feral cats, and totally pissed off at the neighborhood for ignoring the problem since I had last been there.

Previously I had managed feral colonies by taming and homing all the kittens, and the adults were (let's be honest) euthanized at the SPCA. In this case, the new director of the newly "no kill" SPCA said he'd pay for the spays if I paid for the neuters. It's safe to say this was the very first managed TNR colony in Tompkins County, other than perhaps farm colonies that had been neutered by ultra-responsible farmers.

If someone "fixed" one before this, let me know! I'd love to post your story here. Here's a web story on a nearby farm that was fixing feral barn cats long before I'd ever thought of it.

This site changed my mind about trap/neuter/return. Sara did not want 22 cats, but the original feeder had gone off, and the cats were starving. A kind soul, she fed them. Would you want the kind of neighbor who would feed a stray cat, or the kind who would let a kitten starve? Even though feeding promotes the cat problem, I'd rather not have a "kitten starver" living next to me. Finding home for the kittens and adoptables, and neutering those that remain, turned this 22 cat neighborhood into a single home with 2 outdoor cats that are fixed and vaccinated.

Affordable, low-cost, or free spay/neuter makes all the difference.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Foul, nasty, tired mood...

Oh, relax! Posted by Picasa

(Easy for them to say!)

This week has just been loooooooong. And while I know I am getting things accomplished, it's not happening in the neat and tidy way I'd like to see it all happen. I like things to be tied up with nice little strings and put away in boxes. That ain't happening this week. How can you spend so much time on something and then still not have it be DONE? What a pain.

So I was grumpy and pissy when I went out to tuck the cats in. I'm pissed because I can't get my cat litter and am down to my last bag. I should be putting totally clean litter in all the big pans tonight, but I can't because the damned MegaStore has decided not to carry my litter again, and my local store only had a few bags (you know, like normal people would need). This weekend I'll have to run to both the Big M and Tops and wipe them out of all their Cat's Pride.

So it was late, and I was pissed off about everything. I went outside, and it's beautifully warm. OK, a nice warm windy night in February takes away a bit of the grumps. But not enough. I go in the cat facility and the kids who were on Liberty came over to say Hi. OK, that's nice too, but it doesn't do it tonight.

Then I go to clean Sammy's cage. He's crouched in his bed. I dampen my hands to I won't give him a static shock. And...

...did he push up into my hand? Did he like being petted just now?

I wasn't sure. I went and got some baby food, put his Baytril in it, and set it in the cage. When I stepped back, he actually got up and started to eat it. With me only a few steps away.

Just before I left for the night, I stopped and petted him again. And yes indeed, he is pushing up against my hand.

Sammy is coming around.

And that got rid of the grumps.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

From the archives

I've tried to post this photo any number of time, but for some reason it hasn't loaded. This is Madonna and Decker in 2002. The power tool kittens were one of the last litters to be born on the fast food strip (Mikita, Kubota, Decker, and...oh my, I've forgotten). I need to get my butt out there and trap for new cats, or I'll be presented with kittens for the first time in years. I don't think there are any new females out there, but then, Mark and I thought Gillian on south hill was a male...until kittens started gamboling around in the service barn. Posted by Picasa

Hey, it posted!

I have piles of floppy disks full of photos from my old Mavica that have been gathering dust, since my laptop and my previous desktop did not have a floppy drive. When I swapped my old computer for a co-worker's (Better! Faster!) I messaged everyone else "Does anyone have an external floppy drive I can borrow?" I needed to get those photos onto CDs or something more useable. My co-worker messages back, "Susan, you have a floppy drive right on that computer." I glanced left and...well, want to feel stupid? My very own computer had a floppy drive and I didn't even notice it.

Duh. But hey, who would expect a Newer! Faster! computer to have a floppy drive?

So much for my powers of observation. At any rate, perhaps I'll be able to post some feral colony photos here soon, since I don't seem to be getting free of the house much this winter.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Human contact!

We had GUESTS this weekend. I not only met Nancy C. for brunch on Saturday at the ABC Cafe (she brought me cat food; I brought her a trap in which Nancy caught a cat last night who had been dumped at her place), we had our friends Gail and Jennifer (of Kitchen Chair) over for brunch on Sunday. I am shell-shocked by the human contact. Posted by Picasa

In a boring cat facility, a coat from the outside brings many fascinating sniffs...(Hey, people, Wings would really love to get out of here into your home...) No matter how many new toys they get, a good sniff of the outside world trumps every toy there is. Posted by Picasa

There are distinct disadvantages to having a cat facility in an 80-year old barn. It's all one big scratching post. Posted by Picasa

Someone should tell the cats...

...They do call it a "dog bed." Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Hey, you're sleeping on my displacement tool!

Remember when I said Nick can sleep anywhere? Well, here's a little evidence. This is one of those cat toys that passes the cat test. It's a plastic roller toy with a cardboard insert for cats to scratch (you can see the residue surrounding the toy). This toy has distracted Squeak from destroying our front room floor. But now Nick feels it should be his napping spot. So today I purchased another piece of cheap cardboard crap...

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I was in the grain store today and they had these for about half the price they are normally sold for. So in the interest of saving our floor, I decided to buy one. It has a hole on each side and mouse on a string hanging inside. So far, only Nick has shown and interest in scratching it. Everyone else is interested in that elusive mouse. Posted by Picasa

"Trash talks."

Good thing!

Thanks, Mark, for the link!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Give it ten years, and you'll be able to see in the windows.

(Give it a moment for the map to load)

That's where I spent my teenage years. And that patch of woods off the end of that deadend road? That was where I hung out, dreaming on a tree limb or kicking my heels off an outcropping of rock near the railroad tracks after dark.

My house was the absolutely square one on the upper side of the dead-end street, right in the middle. Postage stamp lot, with a parking area on the right we shared the with neighbor...who owned a poorly cared for llama and a sheep. Yes, in the middle of Norwich NY.

Weird to be able to look in my old back yard from the internet. Wierder yet, that each time I click that link, it pans out farther and farther away, as if you only get a few free looks before it all is out of reach again.

Well how about that...

Humaneness in the oddest places...
Although Roberto is believed to be the world's biggest bunny, Guinness World Records said it has stopped listing "biggest animal" titles out of fear that it may lead to people deliberately overfeeding their pets to win the coveted title.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Where do you blog?

Yes, it's 1:10 am, and this is my usual blogging environment. And damn it, yes, that is a fully lit little Christmas tree back there, in February. The rest of the decorations were down on New Years weekend, but I demanded my right to retain the "cat tree," which I brought in from the cat facility after the open house. Tomorrow I will pack it away, and we will begin the long slow trudge to spring. More below... Posted by Picasa

Shall I start a meme? Take a photo of where you most often blog, and post it on your site! I will tag some folks in the morning.

It's all water under the bridge...

What a grey, grey week, in more ways than one.

I'm sorry I've been in absentia. Things have been happening, on a cat level, but I've been too tired to blog on them. Sammy went to the vet (more later, he's fine, just old), and I took along Barley, one of the two kittens rescued by the volunteer couple who were going to adopt Ben. I didn't even think to take a photo of her, and she is a cute little calico Manx. I'll get a shot of Sammy and fill you in on his story tomorrow.

I promise "wild cat blogging" next week instead of moaning about my life. Because on Monday there is a public meeting about this "city within a city"...and guess where my cats live? I've managed the cats in that area for fourteen years, but have only been able to manage it because it's a non-residential area. How many lost pets and feral kittens will I have to deal with when a thousand people move in?

And busy or not, I will be at that public meeting.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Beautiful day to brush a dog

When winter returns, it will be rude, rude, rude.

You are just getting photos, few thoughts, because my brain is totally fried. Posted by Picasa