Monday, May 29, 2006

Here are two of the older feral-mom kits. The tiger is female, the black and white is male (I think...don't quote me on that black and white). Posted by Picasa

The smallest kittens in the two feral-mom litters we have are now big enough to crawl out of the den. There are two tigers (one was still in the den with mom) and two black. Two males and two females. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Day

 Posted by PicasaMemorial Day

Memory Day

Today as I drove into town, I noticed the lilacs were in bloom, and thought about Memorial Day when I was a kid. Memorial Day meant marching in the village parade with a bouquet of lilacs that my mom picked, in my Brownie/Girl Scout uniform. We lined up at the school and marched to the cemetary, where after the many speeches, we walked among the tombstones to place our flowers on a grave that bore a flag.

I don't recall anyone sitting us down the week before in our Brownie meeting, explaining the meaning of Memorial Day. I do recall being told only to place the flowers on a grave with a flag. I remember one year, in my walk through the cemetary, all the flag marked graves had already had flowers placed on them by other young marchers. Beginning to panic, afraid of doing something wrong, I put my flowers on an unmarked grave. Why I didn't just double the flowers on a grave bearing a flag, I don't know. I assume I thought that with limited gifts, it was better to spread them out, rather than favor one site more than others. I'm pretty sure I had no idea what wars we were honoring, or what it meant to "give lives for our country."

We certainly do, now.

Today I went out and looked down on my own small little graveyard. It is a cemetary for cats. Actually, it's a cemetary for people who don't own the land they live on or who are physically unable to bury their own cats. Our own pets are also buried there, and some rescued cats that didn't make it. Spring weeds were overtaking it, and it seemed like, on a day requiring meditation, weeding a cemetary, even if only for cats, was a good and decent pursuit.Posted by Picasa

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Ruffian the rescued ranch fox, whom I had for twelve years, and three FeLV positive Motley Crew kittens, are buried here. Posted by Picasa

A willow marks the grave of two FeLV positive Motley Crew kittens. Posted by Picasa

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The light was lousy for an "after" shot this evening, but I couldn't count on myself to get a photo tomorrow a.m. At least I managed to carve out small space from the weeds, prune back some of the shrubs, and clean things up a bit. Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 26, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Does anybody in this photo look at all familiar? Or maybe here?

(click for a larger view on the group photo)

And my puppy fostering adventures are over. It was fun, but I think I'll stick to kittens! Yes, I did get to foster two pups who needed a place to stay before the Big Day, then helped bring them to the Today Show. I was just a tiny cog in the wheel of a fun event where ten families adopted ten puppies and presented them to their children on this very special day. I got to meet Lily (now Blessi) and Greta's new families, and they are wonderful.

Around here, you never know what will happen.

And now, the excitement is over, so back to kittens!!! Who are also on

This is the reason I stick to rescue and not rehab

Wildlife rehab is a whole different pursuit, and requires an incredible amount of knowledge. For example, I never knew that baby weasels started eating solid food before their eyes opened

I catch 'em and drive 'em to the people who know. My experience is in catching wild animals, that's it.

For rehab, I stick to cats.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Puppies meet Manhattan. More tomorrow...

Well, it was a wild and fun time in NYC today. Other than Sara's car having an ignition problem and becoming an unmoving hunk of steel for 1.5 hours in front of Radio City Music Hall (hey, if you have to break down, pick a cool place to do it), it was a whirlwind trip. I came home to a well-cared for cat facility and a phone message from a local reporter who would like to do a story on our cats. And a message from my mom that she bought a new/used car. I should make return calls, but I'm just too tired... Thank you to everyone who offered to foster kittens (Valarie--we have foster home for your two youngsters!). You are lifesavers. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

House Fire in Sullivan County

The Sullivan County SPCA will probably need help. I am running out the door but wanted to get that posted. Please check out the photos. If that doesn't move you to make a donation to your local fire department (or that fire department or Sullivan County SPCA) nothing will.

The photos are via a link on the paper's home page. Click on the photos link, not on the article. The article link will take you to the incorrect article for some reason.

I'm guessing most of my readers have seen this:

....but just in case you haven't... Click on "see the trailer."

BTW, one advantage of fostering kittens over puppies is that with kittens, you DON'T slip on puppy pee on the kitchen floor at 12:00 am and sprain your wrist. Of course, with kittens, you are likely to fall over the kitten...

I also appreciate litterboxes versus 4:00 am puppy walks...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

This is Casper. Casper, Cassie, and two other littermates were abandoned on a country road in Spencer. Two littermates did not make it. They were found dead. Casper and Cassie are FeLV negative, vaccinated, and should be ready to be fixed in a week or so, since they are just two pounds (We usually wait until three pounds). They were rescued by our neighbor and need a foster home for a short time, and also need homes.
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Yes, this is puppy number two this month.

Canine. Yes, she is canine. Don't expect this to be a trend. Lily will be off to her new home tomorrow, and maybe I'll let you know how we got roped into puppy fostering this month! She's a cutie, and she likes shoes. Posted by Picasa

I'm getting a ton of hits from let me beg:


Email me if you'd like to play with kittens for awhile. We've got kittens sitting in barns right now, and living on front porches, who need a safe place to stay until they are old enough for adoption. You need a separate room, the willingness to administer worm medicine (liquid, no pills), and no small children. You must be calm, sensible, be able to part with kittens in a few weeks. You must have the emotional fortitude to deal with the rare rare possibility of an issue that could result in euthanasia. My email address is info at . Take out the spaces and replace "at" with @ (trying to avoid some spam, here).

Monday, May 22, 2006

4 out of 5 before the battery died!

Basic black is always the cutest of all. Posted by Picasa

Here is little Knuckles, with his twisted multi-toed front paws. He's doing great so far, although he's a bit underweight compared to the others. Posted by Picasa

These bent legs don't slow me down! Posted by Picasa

Hear me roar! Posted by Picasa

Ummmm....Sam and Jen, what did you name him again? I know I have it written down... Posted by Picasa

LuLu posing (Not! Catching these buggers in a still moment is a miracle). Also, the pink blanket is not the best choice. I think I'll pull out something deeper in color tomorrow night. Posted by Picasa

Her Royal Highness, LuLu Posted by Picasa

Yeah, I know the masthead is too small

Flickr and I are just getting to know one another. And Flickr thinks that's the size the banner should be. I'm workin' on it, but it may take a bit.

I'm lucky I got it up there at all! Thanks, sb!

Oh, and I meant to say a big thank you when Wildrun reached 10,000 visits, however, a recent burst of visits brought us to 11,100 without me realizing. Wildrun (the blog) is a year old, and our attitudinal predecessor, Cat Out Loud, was up for just over a year, so we have been blogging for two solid years. Two years of cats, links, and ego.

And you keep reading. Crazy people. Love ya!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Gillian points out the obvious

We're giving Picasa one more try here. Today my downtown volunteer was out of town, and Mark wasn't going to south hill, so I headed into Ithaca to feed the cats. Mark had recently moved the south hill feeding shelter, and I flailed around for awhile trying to find it (hint: it was right out in the open--not where I would have expected to find it). As I came around a building, searching in vain, I saw Gillian. I figured she would lead me right to it and indeed she did. Right in front of my face, at eye level no less. It is always the most obvious things that I miss.

We also had visitors at the cat facility today. A couple came and played with the kittens and visited with the older cats. They are interested in adopting in early July, probably, and we should have a ton of the little furballs old enough to go to new homes at that time. Espie's kittens are right at the "oh my God they are so cute" stage, so they were a hit. Ben, Miles, and Gunsmoke definitely appreciated the attention.

No emails in response to my flyers yet, but that's normal. And I sent off my spay/neuter draft proposal.Posted by Picasa

Clean up and catch up

Tiger Tom, Fluffy, and Kid try out the clean cover on the tall cage where they like to sleep in the cat room.

The upcoming week is another traveling week, so I'm trying to find foster homes for my weaned kittens. I suppose it's unlikely I'll find another person (before Wednesday) as reliable as Alden to clean when I'm gone (Alden has moved to Ithaca), so that means Mark is stuck with it.

Yesterday I put up flyers at the post office and grocery hoping to catch the eye of people who may be interested in volunteering and, of course, adopting. I need to finish up my proposal for a local spay/neuter program for cats, and I have a visitor coming at noon to look at cats.

So you won't be getting anything mentally challenging out of me this morning.

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Cutest kitten in the world....

gets a home!

Incredible, isn't it, that one human cared so little about a kitten that they dumped her for another person to care for. And other human cares so much they are flying her via airliner to a new home.

Safe flying, Rory!

Friday, May 19, 2006

This is a test.

A test of the emergency Blogger system. I can't blog without photos so I'm abandoning Picasa and just using Blogger. So, does it work?

Well, it appears to, so I just reloaded my photos below with regular Blogger instead of Picasa.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

If the photo ever loads, here is a new local stray

My neighbors, who had brought us Espie and her kittens, have another stray who has presented them with kittens. In addition, someone dumped an older kitten. I'd like to put out tire spikes for whomever keeps dumping cats on these folks. Posted by Picasa

And here are three of her four kittens. The fourth one is yellow cream.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Photos aren't loading.

Something screwy is happening with either Blogger or Picasa concerning photos. As both are free, I shall refrain from a major piss off. I will check back in the morning to see if things are better. Sorry, bear with me!

Espie's kittens (not shown) are over four weeks, and are weaned. I have a foster home for two of them. This feral mom's kittens just started opening their eyes today. She has four. Her daughter in the next cage has three or four. I can't be certain, as they were just born a few days ago. At any rate, I need foster homes. If anyone would like to play with some kittens for a few weeks, from age four weeks to age nine weeks, let me know at info @ Posted by Picasa

Visit from the bear

Our bear decided to visit last night. Mark will need to buy a new finch feeder. But I think we'll stop feeding the birds for a bit.

Note: if the photo would load entirely, you would see a very impressive shot of the bite marks in the bottom feeder. Oh well. I tried loading a completely different shot of the same thing and had the same problem. Sorry.Posted by Picasa

I just want to net 'em, but they are half a world away

Check out this video of street kittens in Singapore posted by The Cat Welfare Society.

The Blogpound has a new kitten.

Check out this scared little girl.

Then look at the difference a little love and time makes!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Does TNR work?

(Note, for those who come for the photos, there is a new kitten photo below this post)

I will need to get a full copy of this study.

To use a mathematical model to determine whether or not TNR is successful, one needs to define success. If you similarly modeled removal, I would make an educated guess that it would also "fail" as a cat control method.

If you claim that TNR fails based on this model, you might also say that professional wildlife control fails when it removes a raccoon or two from a property, or installs a chimney cap on a house. Even though the problem is solved at that site and will never occur again, a raccoon might move into a chimney down the street, and the wildlife control business will never resolve the problem of all raccoons in all chimney on all streets.

Did wildlife control "fail?" The landowner who no longer has a raccoon problem would say that it in fact succeeded. To extrapolate success to the entire street would be absurd.

The fact is, in most locations where I have managed cats, the landowner no longer has the cat problem they were complaining about, and they now have few or no cats when before they had scads. Should we stop practicing TNR because fixing all the cats at Barn A will not magically fix the problem at Barn B? The farmer at Barn A would scream "No!"

His cat problem is fixed!

It is time researchers, biologists, and feral cat people accept the reality that feral cat issues need to be examined on a colony-by-colony basis. Most actual feral cat caretakers view TNR in this manner (they get all the cats at X colony before they consider X colony done). Researchers and large shelters or spay/neuter programs do not. They talk about total numbers of cats fixed across a wide region and despair that "the problem will never entirely go away" if it continues at the present rate.

However, TNR is not occurring in a vacuum. At the same time that street cats are being fixed, shelters are moving toward the day that every shelter pet is fixed when it goes out the door. Veterinarians are accepting that they can be a part of the solution and are reducing spay/neuter costs. Hopefully, local lawmakers will soon note that the major source of problem unwanted animals is coming from backyard breeders and will regulation that trade (right now, backyard breeders slip through the cracks of most state laws). All these changes together are what will bring success in pet population management.

But TNR, viewed as "numbers only" won't fix the cat problem alone.

Suppose we have three colonies of 30 cats each and we fix 30 cats. We can fix 30 cats at one site, and monitor that site for new cats. (And, of course, remove kittens and friendly cats for an overall reduction in on-site felines). The cat problem at that site will be solved. Success!

Or we can fix 10 cats in each colony. Cats will continue breeding, and not one of the three problems will be resolved. All will continue to breed and grow, and kittens will still be a time consuming and costly problem. Failure!

The number of cats did not determine success or failure. The management method did.

Groups that provide spay/neuter or funding for spay/neuter should be providing education and guidance about fixing the entire colony, and the requirement of ongoing monitoring. A colony that gets fixed needs to stay fixed. Money poured into spay/neuter at sites where the colony is not being properly managed is money going down a black hole.

The pest management profession has learned that just going in and spraying for bugs doesn't solve a bug problem. Cracks need to be filled, food sources need to be removed. When a raccoon is removed, a chimney cap needs to be installed to prevent a reoccurance. This is called Integrated Pest Management. IPM uses a site by site methodology and results in successful resolution of pest problems.

Here is an interesting link I found about IPM in an archival library. Wouldn't it be absurd for this library to say "why bother to even try to fix the problem in our own archives, if this won't fix the insect damage problem at the library archive down the street and libraries all across all of our county?"

Success in feral cat management should first be regarded on a site-by-site basis. It is absurd to say that because I have only fixed and homed, say, 1200 cats over the course of the last 18 years, that I have not had an impact on the cat problem. There are many sites that had cat problems that no longer do. People were being bitten, money was being spent, people where complaining, animals were suffering---and this is no longer occuring at these sites.

15 years ago, I only knew one other person handling feral cats. Now I can't count the people who plop down a trap to get unhandleable cats fixed. Each ONE of these people is fixing as many or far more cats than I am fixing. This is an exponential change.

Was that exponential growth figured into this mathematical model?

Time to call interlibrary loan!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Feral Mom Number Two, disregarding a perfectly respectable spay appointment for Tuesday, had her kittens today. We now have three nursing moms and at least 13 kittens in the house. Two kittens are spoken for, and I have a foster home for two once they are weaned. IMO, control of the free-roaming cat population will never be reached as long as a person has to wait over a week for a spay appointment.  Posted by Picasa

I could have done with one less mother in the house.