Sunday, March 30, 2008

One Ear is off to the vet

Kat, who feeds the Fast Food Ferals on weekdays, noted to me via email that she had seen One Ear, and he was limping badly.

There are only three cats on the north side of Route 13 nowadays: Vannie, One-Ear, and a new long furred brown-and-white guy. This weekend, Mark and I went to Ithaca College, where he handed off his car to me, and then I drove down to where the cats are fed on Route 13 to set two traps.

The lumber yard had only one vehicle in the parking lot, so I was able to pull the car up to where I could watch the traps. The sun was out, and I'd brought my laptop. I spent half my time working, and the other half sitting with my eyes closed, victim to the cold that just won't go away.

Vannie came out as soon as I walked away, sniffed the trap, glared toward the car, and walked away. I wouldn't have minded getting her for a rabies booster, but I was just as glad that she didn't fill up a trap. One Ear showed up about a half-hour later and walked right in.

It looks like his right rear paw is injured, rather than his leg. That's good. A broken leg on a feral cat probably would have meant euthanasia. An injured paw may just mean antibiotics and some cage rest. We'll let a vet (and an radiograph) decide. In the meantime, he has snorfed up a jar of turkey baby food here in his cage at Wildrun. I can't tell yet if he's actually feral-born or just a shy stray. His "missing ear" is just crumpled up due to ear mite scarring or a past hematoma. He has quite a few mats and will benefit from a good combing while under anesthesia.

At least he'll be off to the vet. Thanks, Kat, for letting us know!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Turn your lights off!


And computers for good measure. Bye!

Arnot Maple Weekend - tomorrow too!

This is the best six bucks you could spend this weekend on "fun":

We laughed at this. Yes, these signs sum up NYS weather. Next week, if the sun keeps shining, this could well be a wildflower trail once again!

There were a lot more people when we were eating. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take a picture until a low-volume moment.

There were lots of children, all well-behaved, and all cute as sin! We aren't particularly "kid" people. We tend to borrow them once they are old enough to go for hikes or ride horses. Nonetheless, we enjoyed smiling at this crop of small humans, as the parents who chose to bring them out here to a true NY outdoor weekend event.

If you need something fast to do this weekend to give yourself a breather, definitely drive on out to the Arnot Forest. There is a link in the post below.

Wear boots! You might want to tuck an extra few dollars in your wallet to bring home some maple syrup, t-shirt, maple candy, or a temporary tattoo for the kids.

Yeah, yeah, for the kids.

It was a nice way to spend an hour on a Saturday morning.

Arnot Forest Maple Weekend today and tomorrow. We are on our way now, while the cats stay home and lounge in front of the fire on this snowy Saturday.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Rescue Ink

"Coming to an abuser near you.

And they do TNR.

Post note: the comments in the comment section below are meant for Rescue Ink, not Wildrun. I assure you I wasn't on TV the other day. :) I am thinking about getting a tattoo now, though, ya think?

WWF Earth Hour. Turn off your lights tomorrow at 8pm.

I got this email just a moment ago:
This Saturday! Participate with Planet Green in World Wildlife Fund's Earth Hour

On Saturday, March 29, Discovery will join forces with World Wildlife Fund's Earth Hour campaign to raise awareness about electricity conservation and lowering carbon emissions. The simple act of turning off the lights for one hour will deliver a powerful message about how everyone can positively impact the planet.

As a part of Discovery's global Planet Green initiative, One Discovery Place will turn off its lights on the evening of March 29. Discovery also encourages you to participate by joining millions of people around the world in this effort - by both turning off your office lights and equipment as you leave and going dark at home on Saturday at 8 PM (local time).

To sign up and learn more, please visit

Then I went to and watched this:

We'll be turning off our lights. How about you?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

SNOW? What? WHAT!!!!

A mixture of snow and rain developing this evening. Snow accumulation of 1 to 4 inches...with the greatest amounts over the higher terrain in the northern portions of the counties. Lows in the lower 30s. Light and variable winds. Chance of precipitation near 100 percent.

Rain and snow becoming all snow during the morning... then mostly cloudy with a chance of snow showers in the afternoon. Total snow accumulation of 2 to 5 inches...with the greatest amounts over the higher terrain in the northern portions of the counties. Highs in the upper 30s. North winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation 80 percent.

Drat!!!! I want spring!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cat agility. No, really.

Sad and sobering visit home

Today Mark and I drove to Greene to have dinner with our families for Easter at The Baron's Inn. We arrived 20 minutes early. I suggested we drive into the village and down the lane along the river to my family's old home.

We had driven down a few years ago as well, so I knew she had fallen into disrepair. I expected this time to find she had been bulldozed. However, there she was. She had progressed from "disrepair" to "rotting." She has perhaps reached the point of no return.

She was beautiful once. She is even, in her way, beautiful now.

You could buy her, and the failed factory they built across the driveway from her. This photo is from the factory's photo album.

There she sits with just our memories.

Happy Easter

We received this from Donna this morning. Thanks, Donna!

Everyone have a wonderful (hopefully sunny) day!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I find things funny when it's late at night.

Purloined from Stuff On My Cat.

Definitely an instrument of torture

At least it's assembled, and you didn't have to hear the swearing. Mark finally took pity on me and helped at one point where I was literally whining. Yes, whining. That's what having a cold for two solid weeks does to me.

The house kitties get to check it out for an hour, and then I'll be taking it out to the cat facility. In the snow. Yes, more SNOW!

Thank you, Cary! It will be fun to see what the facility cats make of this. How long before it's over on it's side, because they think it's more fun that way? I'm not certain it was made to handle 4-8 rambunctious cats at a time. We'll see!

Blog present for the cats...

I think it's a gift.

Then again, perhaps it's an instrument of torture. I'll let you know shortly.

Nick likes it, and it's not even assembled yet.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"New" tables for the cage room

Recently these two 22-year old Steelcase tables found their way to us (versus being turned into metal bits). They weigh a ton, which is why they survived to be 22 years old. Mark helped me take them up to the second floor and reassemble them on Sunday morning.

Instead of two plastic folding tables, one on each side of the room, we have room for four cages all along one side. This opens up the room quite a bit. If we need more cages, we can always reinstall a folding table.

The folding tables will go downstairs and replace the dining room table that is on the first floor. We'll sell that at a spring garage sale or give it away. Anyone need an indestructible dark-wood kitchen/dining room table with a removable leaf?

I gave up on the refrigerator. I seldom use it, and it is just one more thing to clean (and clean around). I'll use the refrigerator in the house for Clavamox and kitten formula. I hauled that downstairs and Mark has staked a claim on the cart that previously bore it. That's just as well, because the shy cats always hid beneath it and it was so difficult to get them out.

So here is the new and improved cage room:

It's looking a little sterile. I think a cat tree with sleeping levels on that back wall where the white desk-like thing is would be a good addition. When the cage cats are at liberty they would have something besides just the tops of the cages and the chair to lie on.

Improvement? This was what it looked like two Christmases ago when we were still using sawhorses and the walls had not been painted by friends.

With Ebu adopted there are only five cats in this room (jubilation!). There are six cats total in the three cat runs, and seven cats in the cat room. Eighteen cats, total. Wow, we having fewer than 20 cats! It's been a long time coming.

Dr. Shakespeare will be coming out in two weeks to give the entire clan a once-over and vaccinations. This is always an adventure, because some of the long-termers are not amenable to being picked up. This is where that high-tech cat restraint device -- the towel -- comes in handy. That, and a lot of patience.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ebu gets a home!

Today Ebu was chosen by a family to be part of their home. He will be off to the vet's office to have his healthy pet check, and then will be going to his new home for good.

Tonight I tucked everyone else away so I could spend some goodbye time with just Ebu. And lo, shy Kitty Corn (who is never caged) came down right away to join in the play.

Ebu was a bit shy with a family of four, and he was especially surprised to discover that humans come in smaller sizes, but he did let the boy pet him when he (Ebu) was up on a counter and could look down on his new friend.

And it must be meant to be. The first three letters of his new family's license plate? "EBU"...just like ours.

One big surprise was that Espie LOVED the boy. So it appears she would do fine in a household with children. In fact, had she lobbied just a little harder, she might have stolen Ebu's home away from him.

Sooner or later her home will come. She puts a smile on the face of everyone who meets her.

Way to go, Ebu!

An evening with the cats

Late this evening I finally replaced the carpet on the climbing wall in the cat facility. Pulling down the old carpet was a drag. Watching the cats zoom up the new carpet made it all worth it. A new laser pointer provided encouragement.

Believe it or not, the chubbies, Wings and Dustin, were the first ones to try it out.

I haven't had a laser pointer up in the cat facility for over a year, I think. They were thrilled with the novelty.

I also got out some other special toys. Ebu and the youngsters enjoyed the cloth tunnel.

Perci was absolutely enthralled by the laser pointer. Check out those eyes!

It was the first time in a long while that I just sat and played with the gang. It was 1:15 am before I tucked them in and came in to the house.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Maestro is right at home!

It looks like Maestro is settled in quite nicely in his new home. It's always a load off my mind when I see that an adopted feline (especially a shy cat)is doing just fine without me!

For the second time in a week, we've received video instead of photos from a foster/adoptive home. The only challenge in posting video rather than pictures is the wait involved as the file uploads. As Cary found when placing video on my Petfinder site, it helps to close down other programs you may have running, if you are posting very large videos.

So much for the "shy kittens!" Maestro and Marimba (now "Cosmo") must have inherited some pretty friendly genes from their parents. Even though they were rescued when they were past the seven-weeks-of-age socialization stage, they certainly seem to be blissfully happy in their new human homes.

So, is Maestro still "Maestro?" Or does he have a new name?

Meant to blog Pedigree for a long while

And I think I should tonight.

Do have tissues available.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Opening the mail.

I opened the mail today. The physical. And the virtual.

The virtual mail held calls for help. There is a cat in a ceiling in Ithaca. And a pregnant cat on the streets of Waverly.

The physical mail held two cards. One in my home mailbox, with a check for $150 from Maestro's rescuer (Maetro's kind adopter, see what your choice has wrought?) and one in my Wildrun P.O. Box for $200 from Shakespeare's adopter.

$350 which will do cats much good. It will cover our vet account balance, with a generous amount left over.

Not to mention that someone (Amazon knows who?) donated $100 (two $50 donations) this last month via this blog's donation button.

So, Waverly folks, set your traps with abandon! Get your pregnant kitty and also Orange Juice, and let me know if you need traps, since I picked one more up from the NSYWMA conference.

Donations are like stars from the sky for me. I regard each one with appreciative surprise and amazement. For so many years, we didn't even ask for adoption fees, and every single dollar came out-of-pocket. For, what...15 years?

I will always remember our first donation. We decided that we would fix all the cats on the fast food strip in Ithaca in 2002. I made this seemingly absurd announcement at work, and Nancy J. of Ithaca College walked into my tiny closet of an office and handed me a check for $600. 12 years of nothing, to one moment of everything.

Stars from the sky.

Most of this past two years of generosity I must attribute to this weblog. When speaking at a conference last week, I asked for a show of hands and only one person had a blog for their shelter. Look what our small 100 reader blog has done for our small rescue. It has provided volunteers, donations, adoptions, and help (resources and info from our commenters). Imagine what a good 1000-reader blog would do for a small humane society? Please encourage your shelter to invite their community into their day-to-day work with a blog!

Let your readers be stars from the sky. Even those who cannot afford to give dollars nonetheless visit, listen, and gives one more tick on your stats, which makes you sigh with relief that Somebody Cares.

It's gotten to the point that we aren't the only ones rescuing cats on this blog.

You are.

Thank you!

Keywords. Bergendorff. Angel. Dog. Ricin.

Post Note: A contributor in comments notes that information has been available for weeks via media outlets, that Angel had additional health issues, and that the cats involved were saved (I added the links):
Roger's older brother was Fred Bergendorff who founded The Pet Place and hosted a weekly TV show in southern California showcasing animals from shelters for adoption. In one news article I read, early on, a gentleman who'd known Roger his entire life said that Angel had been ill, she needed injections in her hind legs each day or she couldn't walk. Another news article some time back said that Angel needed eye drops four times a day. She was either 13 or 14 years old German Shepherd in poor health when Roger's older brother Fred gave her to him.

Thank goodness for commenters, or I would live in a total vacuum! Thank you for the information.

Original post:

I am in a hold pattern in learning that ricin victim Roger Berdendorff's dog, Angel, was euthanized after being found starving in his hotel room, while Berdendorff was saved. It appears local animal resources were not available to save Angel? This is the link..
A younger brother, Erich Bergendorff of Escondido, Calif., said hospital officials told him Wednesday that his brother was awake and had been told that his beloved dog, Angel, was euthanized after the Humane Society found her starving and without water in his motel room.

This is the first I've heard about Angel, and upon doing a Google keyword search found nothing.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cat Bounty in Randolph Iowa

Update 3/14/08 Bounty Out, TNR In

Original post:

By now, you probably have heard about the cat bounty in Randolph, Iowa

And that the community has responded, sometimes politely, sometimes not.

And that Alley Cat Allies has stepped into to offer the option of TNR.

The interesting thing about this situation is that:

A) Only two cats have been surrendered so far. Not many folks are jumping on this band wagon.
B) The veterinary clinic identified as a possible euthanasia agent has denied this connection and states they instead offer Trap/Neuter/Return.

From the community website in Randolph Iowa:

RANDOLPH MAYOR DEFENDS CAT BOUNTY (Randolph) -- Randolph's mayor is defending the city's decision to impose a bounty on feral cats. Vance Trively says dozens of feral cats were overrunning Randolph--and he was swamped with phonecalls. With the stray cat problem multiplying, Trively tells KMA News he and the Randolph City Council knew they had to do something. Thus, Trively says the council decided to impose a $5 bounty for live cats. Trively says the cats had to be alive when turned in--and would only be accepted from Randolph residents. Since the council imposed the fee, Trively says he's received a grand total of two cats as of Wednesday afternoon. One of the cats was sick and died. The other cat is pregnant and is being cared for until it's taken to a vet. Trively, however, says the city has been swamped with media attention. In addition to every Omaha television station, Trively says he's received calls from other radio stations, Paul Harvey, the Omaha World Herald--and even B-B-C Radio and B-B-C Worldwide in London. Trively says the reaction is laughable. Trively says those critical of the city's decision don't realize that most stray cats can't be controlled. Trively also questions who pays to feed or neuter a cat when it's captured or saved. Trively, however, says the city did make one mistake. Had the council imposed a catch fee, instead of a bounty, Trively says it wouldn't have received any attention.

What is interesting here, is that Trively took personal responsibility for killing. He stood up and said, "I'll take the cats, pay you $5, and will look for their owners or have them put down."

Whether he will be able to find a vet willing to put them down remains to be seen.

Because he has taken personal responsibility for the removal, the media has a human face to put on the issue (an all-important feature for any viral media story) and are responding in a manner that is drawing more attention than one might expect. Trively may end up being a greater friend to ferals than he planned, by drawing attention to the subject.

Remember, all over the United States, money is paid for animal control shelters to euthanize hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands of unwanted dogs and cats. These killings fade into the long history of killing we've had in our own cities and towns, and we tend to try to ignore them. In a small town like Randolph, instead of animal control we have one man, Mayor Trively. When we criticize him, we need to remember we--as communities--may be guilty of a similar mindset. Are our own municipalities paying for creative adoption and spay/neuter...or "euthanasia?"

I think this parallel should be made more strongly. When we demonize Mayor Trively, we may find we are fellow demons if pets are euthanized in our own municipalities. If we are not already, shouldn't we each be stepping forward to foster kittens and puppies for our overburdened shelter, help our senior neighbors fix their outdoor cats, and help man the off-site adoption center at our local Petco, Petsmart, or other adoption-friendly pet store?

Mayor Trively is concerned about "dozens of cats." "Dozens" can be controlled by a steady, calm TNR program. However, to a person who is unfamiliar with TNR "dozens" seems overwhelming. It costs over $200 to get a pet cat fixed (with office visit charge, vaccinations, etc). Who is going to pay to fix dozens? Well, the caretakers will dig deep when discounted spay/neuter services are available, and vets will sometimes lower their fees for the person with a stray cat versus a pet. Organizations will step forward with assistance once they know there is a need.

Ask the community now that Mayor Trively has challenged them. So far only two people have been willing to come forward for the $5 bounty. Let's see how many will come forward with money to fix the cats instead?

Mayor Trively has willingly put his face on the animal control of yesterday. By doing so, he may remind us that what is $5 per cat in Randolph already costs as much as $100 a cat in our own towns. By all means, sign the petition against cat killing in Randolph, Iowa.

Then we should pick up the phone and find out what we can do for the cats in our own towns and give ourselves a good long look in the mirror.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"Wednesday" says pbbbttt!! to FeLV

Wednesday needs a home!

Wednesday was rescued on Ash Wednesday by the Waverly folks. As with Simon, they couldn't see the point of putting him back out in a free-roaming colony when he was so friendly and would obviously steal hearts.

The generous folks at Stray Haven and S.P.C.A. in Waverly agreed to help find him a home. As bad luck would have it, he has tested positive for FeLV. Stray Haven is kindly keeping him temporarily, but soon kittens will come flooding in their doors, so Wednesday needs a big publicity push to find him a forever home ASAP!

He will need to go to a home that has no cats, or only FeLV positive cats. He is extremely affectionate, and loves his tummy rubs. As you can see from his photo, he has a sense of humor.

His rescuer, Debra, will happily fill you in. Please email me at info(at)americancat(dot)net if you are interested, and please share this blog entry with any community you know in this area of NYS who might be interested in a sweet FeLV positive cat whose purrsonality is oh-so-much-more!

To get the URL of Wednesday's post (rather than the whole blog), click on the time, below, and then copy the URL in the address window at the top of the page.

The Waverly folks and Wednesday thank you!

Hey, Martha...

You've been blogged (and not by me)!

Martha and her partner Hilary adopted Sam from us.

April, there is a picture of Rocket when she was a tiny kitten in the photos of Sam!

American Humane Animal Emergency Services Basic Training in NY

American Humane is holding three Animal Emergency Services Basic Training sessions in New York this spring:

New Paltz, NY
April 4-5th
Ulster County Fairgrounds

Millbrook, NY
April 6-7th
Dutchess County Farm and Home Center

Bath, NY
May 3-4th
Civil Defense Fire Center

You can learn about them in detail at this link.

You can also call Shelby of American Humane at (303)925-9461 or email her at shelbyd(at)americanhumane(dot)org

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Simon's video

I just got home, checked my pet list, and saw that Cary had uploaded more video. Check out Simon's video. Simon is fostering with Cary in PA, and I have to say the music she chose got me a bit teary-eyed.

I told you he was in Kitty Hawaii at Cary's place.

I love that little lip-lick at the end of the video.

His new place is a bit of a change from when he was rescued by the Waverly folks, is it not?

Ebu has video, too! I noticed Ebu's music has a bit more punch than the music for the shy cats!

On a different note, this is what I missed while I was in MA this weekend

Home again, and the cats say "thank you" MAC!

The MA Animal Coalition is pretty savvy when it comes to thank-you presents. Stacy, the Wildrun cats think the catnip toys are very cool!

I took pity on the house cats and let them have one, too. Cricket has been hogging it.

The Workshop was great, the speakers were excellent, and I got to meet Judy in person, feral_cats yahoo group member and blog reader, after many years of internet acquaintance!

Alas, Jen and Sam forgot about the time change and missed the train! But we'll see them when they are in Ithaca next week.

I visited the Worcester Animal Rescue League on the way home (they were nice enough to talk me in when I got lost in downtown Worcester) and enjoyed a beautiful sunny MA ride home in late afternoon (and a colder NY drive in early evening) after rain, rain, rain all the way up on Saturday. Thomas is just the sweetie in person that WARL says he is online

On Sunday I thought my cough was due to too much talking after last week's cold, but it appears I actually have picked up another bug. Naturally all the cat people at the conference (expressing kind concern after I had a coughing fit in a Q&A session) said "must be a secondary bacterial infection, huh?"

I feel like I should be dosing myself with Clavamox!

I will be avoiding human contact for a few days, so as to prevent this bug from replicating itself among my friends.

Thank you, Donna, for caring for the kids again. Everyone looked awfully content when I got home!

Friday, March 07, 2008

We have video!

Check this out! Cary was here visiting a few weeks ago and took video of some of the cats. She uploaded it to our Petfinder site today.

We both had to pick Petfinder's tech team's brains (thank you, Joe!) because Leo's file was so large, and I also wanted Leo's file for a PowerPoint presentation.

This wouldn't have happened without Cary (who also took Great White/Simon to foster today and found a home for Thomas with her dad) so major thanks to her!

Check it out! Click on the video link above their photos:

and Wings!

I wonder if we'll get inquiries on our shy babes now?

Great White off to foster in PA!

Great White of Waverly, AKA Spencer, now Simon, has arrived in PA tonight and reportedly (via IM) is playing footsie with kitty George under the door in his new (foster?) home.

I wonder what he will do when he meets Angus!

Simon will be spoiled silly with Cary! It's like Hawaii for pets over there.

Yes, Angus really is carrying the mail.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Got groomed today

You know how you look at that family dog and realize he really, really needs a clip? Like, probably five weeks ago, but you've been going at him with the sissors, and for a long while you were pretty pleased with the results, but now you have to admit that time and nature have gotten ahead of you and the poor dog looks really really neglected?

Yeah, that's me. I got a haircut today. First one in five months. The last one was also right before I was going to be seen in public.

And you know how when the dog comes home, for an hour or so you find the little bows above his ears kind of cute, and also that sort of sleek glossy look the groomer somehow manages to fluff out of him is fascinating. But then you can't stand it, pull the bows out, and send him out in the rain, and towel dry him so he gets his curls back?

That's me, too.

And you know what? The haircut cost about as much as a grooming, too.

But I don't bite. And I tip OK.

Finally figured out my issue with Walmart

You know, I always thought it was the fact that they flattened tons of acres of the Fast Food Ferals territory that peeved me.

Or how dronelike people become walking through the aisles.

Or how much stuff is sold there that people don't need.

Or the many overhead TVs that tell you what you need to buy, as if you are too dronelike to know what you came for, or to keep from reaching for something you don't need.

But it's the only place that I can get large quantities of cat litter, and frankly, I've created a friendly acquaintance with some of the staff there.

No, I finally figure out what bothers me about our Walmart store.

The parking lot isn't sloped enough to ride my cart back to the truck.

Reflections on the "Goldfish O Matic"

If the artist who created the Goldfish O Matic had truly created it as:
It was a protest against what is going on in the world, against this cynicism, this brutality that impregnates the world in which we live
Marco Evaristti

The artist placed live goldfish in blenders that were plugged in. One visitor took him up on the challenge of choosing between life and death.

It is precisely because one of the people who visited his art reacted in a brutal manner, he, as the person who put a creature's life in the balance--placing it in immediate danger for benefit of his message--should have willingly accepted the charge of cruelty to animals, paid the fine, and made a point that his action was part of his art.

If the goldfish was a suitable subject for exhibiting brutality, than wasn't it a worthy enough subject for the artist to pay the price for the brutality that he risked and even encouraged?

Stating that your art was created to make a point, and then dodging that "point" yourself, seems to me to be just another example of humans harming other beings simply for shock value.

There was no message here. There was only grandstanding for shock value in the name of art--and cruelty.

Ah, that IS a message, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

OK. Now we are pre-vinyl floor.

Oh my. Yes, this IS the cat facility over 5 years ago. Can you tell that I was doing some serious furniture scrounging? Wow. That is the corner where the big white board is now. And yup, that's carpet on the floor. Where did I get that carpet?

OK, it's after midnight, and the photos are beginning to look like the mid-70s (no, they are all in 2000). I think it's time to run out to hug the kitties and then hit the hay. I only have about another 70 disks to go.

Linda, check it out!

Guess who that black and white guy is?

And the grey longhair is Storm.

Taming Fluffy

This should make Donna smile....

Yes, that is the Great Fluffy, protecting the kittens, seven long years ago when we first caught him here on the farm.

That kitten was from our very first TNR colony on Cascadilla Street, Ithaca.

Fluffy was the very first feral cat to be neutered at a Tompkins County public feral cat clinic.

This makes Fluffy eight or nine years old?

How did that happen?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

More historical photos

This is Little Bit (the black and white). She was adopted out before we even moved to Spencer.

This is Little Bit and Little Bit's mom. Yes, she has a sense of humor.

Old photos


Putting on the new barn roof...five years ago? The poor guys. They had rented the lift, so when the snow hit, stopping work wasn't an option. They put that roof up in the middle of a nasty cold snowstorm.

Look at what a beater our poor barn was before the roof and paint job...

As for the inside...

Oh my, I don't even remember it looking like this in the cat facility! Can you say "A Lot Less Cats?" Wow, look at all the extraneous stuff I had up there. It sure looks brighter painted now, although I miss this first yellow floor. This floor is brighter than the current light gray.


That mom wasn't tame either. She was as feral as could be. It looks like she has them lined up for inspection

Oh boy, you get a little punchy after 150 floppy disks...

Oh. So. Slow.

Guess what I'm doing?
Saving .jpgs off of....floppy disks. From three years or more years ago. Scores and scores of floppy disks...

Does this look like someone familiar? (the grey guy)

Yup. It's Leo being tamed as a teenager.

His mom, Gillian, is still alive and well on South Hill as a TNR'd feral.

Another new fast food feral.

I forgot to mention that when I was feeding the FFFerals on Sunday, a new cat bounced out of one of the cat shelters. He's a longhaired white cat with tiger (quite a bit of tiger, so you might even call him tiger with white) and he stopped to look at me from across the bridge and did not run away, so I'm thinking once he's in a trap he may be tame.

His fur is quite shabby, and I've seen tracks for more than two cats for a bit, so he has probably been around awhile.

There were also footprints in the snow and the top of one of the shelters was wide open. Someone was messing around. They weren't Kat's tracks. I closed up the shelter, and nothing else seemed to be amiss. I hope they saw the sign explaining that the cats are cared for and don't come back to poke around again.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Huh. Irony.

Today I had a fairly negative experience I will not write about. However, it was an epiphany. It made me appreciate people I have met through my life, through rescue, through friendship, through my many jobs, who are kind, understanding, challenging, and thoughtful.

I think I have received more than my share of these kind people. They deserve more back from me, I think. They invest in me, and I should be investing more in them. In fellow caretakers, in my family, in my husband, in the animals I care for. That is what I learned today.

On an unrelated note, I received two email messages tonight. One from a young woman who will be adopting Maestro. One from two young women who cared for our Fast Food Ferals in the past and will be in town and would like to come for a visit.

In those short email messages, you experience that there is hope for tomorrow, in something so simple as young professionals who care. If they care so much about something so simple as a cat, and a small cat shelter in Spencer NY, imagine what impact they will have in much wider venues throughout their lives.

Yup, I had a fairly negative experience today. It was a revelation to me. At first it made me angry, and then it made me laugh. It made me realize how much good there is in my life, and that it is time to start paying more attention to what is clearly generous and good, and discard that which cripples.

I want to thank each and every one of you who visits here regularly. Tonight when I went out the cats, and enjoyed their beautiful presence, and acknowledged that they would...each and every one of them...someday get homes...I realized I had trekked far off of the appropriate path for a few years. I learned a lot from it, but it is time to come home. I would like to promise them that they will no longer be neglected in the name of other commitments that are less generous and kind.

Generosity visits me daily. Today I have learned that it is generosity that is most important and should be returned. And that there is nothing but futility in trying to live up to the unattainable.

When I clicked over to xkcd and saw their message today...well, I'm not sure why they considered it for their "comic" today, or what inspired it. I expect that it's a riff on those online games you play, and play, and play, never winning, and therefore never allowing yourself to give up and leave.

It was very appropriate for me. There is no reason to keep playing a losing game. And by just realizing that...well, you've won.

"It's OK. You're free."

Thanks. It's OK. I'm free.

Thank you all. I think it's going to be a very good year.

Tell a person who has been kind to you, that you appreciate them. Dust off a thank- you card and place it in the mail. Leave a flower. Look someone in the eyes and just. plain. smile. Hug your cat. Hug your dog. Tell your husband or partner that you are so glad you found them.

It's OK. You're free.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Maestro gets a foster-to-adopt home

It looks like Maestro has scored a home. He will be going out as a foster, with the option to adopt. He was putting on his handsome best today.

I promised his new family I'd link to his mom and dad post.

And yes, he's still here...

For those who have asked whatever happened to Great White....

No, he didn't go back on the street. He's still here. Cary has offered to foster him, but weather has made it difficult to rendezvous.

And yeah, that's a coffee stain on my coat. I've been having difficulties with travel mugs, lately. Yellow is a great color to hide cat hair, but not so great to hide daily wear-and-tear.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Snowy Saturday Cats

Today was the NYS Wildlife Management Association yearly conference at the Treadway Inn in Owego, which is only 1/2 hour from me. Although I'm no longer involved in wildlife control, I have a soft place in my heart for the NYSWMA guys (the core group and I were all founding members back in 1992 or so) so every year I sit registration so they can do the "meet and greet" thing without being tied to the table.

Alan Huot from Wildlife Control Supplies in CT was there, so I asked him if he had brought any Safeguard traps with sliding back doors, and indeed he had. He also had one-way squirrel eviction doors, so I picked up a trap and a one-way door. Jack's mom Holly has squirrels, and I promised her when she adopted Jack we would help her ease them on out of her house before squirrel-baby season arrived. So I came home with a shiny new trap and squirrel door with no shipping costs.

Should you ever attend conferences with exhibitors, remember that, unless they have more shows in the same region, they don't want to ship all that equipment home, and they'll often sell it at a discount or without shipping.

While I was there I had a great conversation with Jim Pace of Christian-Baker Company, who had lots of information about liability and other insurance coverage for Wildrun. I previously had wildlife control insurance, but had dropped it once it seemed clear my current activities did not meet standard wildlife control practices. But he pointed out that the dedicated "cat lady" wasn't much different from the wildlife rehabber (who also often have a separate facility and volunteers), and he felt he could cover my insurance needs. So hopefully this spring he'll be able to create a policy for us that specifically fits what we do here. I have to say, it was the first time I'd spoken with an insurance agent who seemed to have any respect for the fact that a cat person might want and need insurance. I was very impressed.

Then it began to snow, and I had our one vehicle that is good in snow, and I knew Mark had to drive into Ithaca. So once registration seemed to be over around 10:30, I headed home and tagged along to Ithaca with Mark. He ran his errands, and I ran mine, which mostly involved loading up the car with cat litter at Walmart (with my husband, we could push TWO carts of litter -- luckily no one made any smart comments).

We also stopped by to feed the Fast Food Ferals and was rewarded with a glimpse of Vannie (photo at top), one of the original colony. Then I looked again, and a head was peeking out of one of the shelters!

It was One-Ear. He is a periodic visitor who has not yet been captured and fixed, so it's obviously time to get him. I approached more closely to see if he might be tame, but he decided it was time to leave, so I stopped pressing him. I didn't want to chase him away from the food.

I always feel so privileged when I get to see the remaining Fast Food Ferals. It's incredible to think that they are all that are left of the swarms of cats and kittens that once haunted the north side of Route 13 in Ithaca.

And of course I'm glad to see they are using the shelters.

About a week ago, I went grocery shopping at Wegmans. Anyone who know me well knows I was not happy to be assigned this task. I hate big stores. I have a hard time buttoning my sarcastic lip at people who charge out of side aisles without looking, or who stop and block the whole aisle, oblivious to the fact that there are people behind them. I also hate that the market is so large that if you forget something, its a major trek to fetch back to the other side of the store.

But what redeemed this visit was that I ran first into Alden (and we arranged his fostering of Ben) and then into Sara K., the very kind and sweet woman who was once feeding 25 cats in her back yard on Cascadilla Street in 2001. She was our very first TNR colony. She was not the creator of the colony. Another feeder was feeding cats on a nearby vacant lot and stopped. I was called in by a Cornell University police officer (a cat lover) who requested help with a shed full of sick kittens, and I found Sara by walking the neighborhood until I saw her methodically feeding all the cats on paper plates, which she then picked up and threw neatly away. At the time, she was taking care of her ill husband (who I have learned, sadly, has since passed away). Adding a quarter-hundred cats to her life was not something needed at that time. Who does?

She did not deserve to be placed in the position of caretaker for a growing colony of cats, but like many responsible older citizens, she was not going to turn away a human or animal in need. We discovered that majority of the cats were kittens who could be placed in home. We returned only seven cats.

She didn't really want seven cats, either, but I pointed out that seven nonbreeding cats was a heck of a lot better than a steady progression of 25, living, breeding, and dying, breaking her heart.

As we talked in Wegmans, I asked her about the two cats who were left. Sadly, the grey long hair disappeared last year. She now had only one tiger cat, who lives in the shelter we left her, and pads up to her second floor porch, and sometimes even accepts an invitation into her kitchen...but refuses to be petted. She seemed very happy. Her eyes were sparkling, and it was a joy to speak to her.

She mentioned that she had gotten our Christmas card to her, which made me all the more dedicated to send them ALL out next year (I sadly admit I only got half out this year).

The shabby nearby property where the cats and kittens all hung out is now cleaned up. She said "Can you believe there isn't a single stray cat in that whole neighborhood now?"

Not a single stray cat in that whole neighborhood!

It was a lovely conversation, and seeing her and Alden made the visit to Wegman's worth it.