Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Two out, two in

With Espie and Dude in new homes, you'd think we'd be enjoying fewer cats, right?

Nope! Faith and Arthur have taken their place. I have flyers up for Arthur and have reported him as "found" to Stray Haven, as he showed up here on my porch in a rainstorm newly neutered. I called all the local vets to see if they remembered him. So far, no luck.

And I found my camera!

Pickles thinks Arthur is pretty cool.

Little Faith--Hope's mom-- is happy to be in from the cold. I'm sure she was a chilly kitty because she does not have the thick coat that Pichou has. She has been spayed, is FeLV/FIV negative, and now just needs to clean up from her adventure. She's just 6lbs...a little girl. Pichou, who looks twice her size, is also 6 lbs, which just goes to show what a little fur will do for appearances.

Both Arthur and Faith are friendly. Arthur still smells like a tom cat and the other big guys don't think much of that. Hopefully he'll fit in soon.

Remember how teeny Hope was?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Friday morning critter

This article reminds me of my previous job as the manager of an animal research facility.
One of the most deadly spiders in the world has been found in the produce section of a Tulsa grocery store. An employee of Whole Foods Market found the Brazilian Wandering Spider Sunday in bananas from Honduras and managed to catch it in a container.

The spider was given to University of Tulsa Animal Facilities director Terry Childs who said this type of spider kills more people than any other.

No one ever brought me exotic spiders, although they did bring me BIG spiders. As well as caterpillars, and insects of curious nature. Not to mention a few amphibians. And once Physical Plant and Campus Safety brought me a plastic bin that they had found in a dormitory hallway, filled with shavings, food bowls, and what was alleged to be a dead rat. The "dead rat" turned out to be plastic. Hilarious.

But the critters weren't so hilarious, sometimes. There's nothing like switching on the light in your office in the morning to see a jar with....something...crawling in it. Then there was the day that well-meaning police rescued five (saltwater) blue crabs from the women's shower and put them in the aquarium fresh water. One did survive.

It seemed like these critters always appeared on a Friday, it had to be identified FAST so that it was properly housed (or properly released) before the weekend.

As the only person on campus with a job that had anything at all to do with animals of any sort, anytime someone had a question like "What IS this thing?" or "How do we keep this alive?" they stopped by my office. And Physical Plant and Campus Safety had keys if they found my office unoccupied. Surprise!

Funny to think back to that! I wonder if Terry's spider was hand-delivered, or if his department administrative assistant found it in a jar on her desk with a handwritten note on it: "Do you know what this is?"

Monday, March 16, 2009

The saddest most beautiful little story you will ever read

Smalley In The Hedge.

Rosie helps launch Kuranda bed drive for Stray Haven

Pancake breakfasts are a great way to get you moving on a weekend morning, not to mention good food and just plain good company. Debra M. (Waverly feral cat fixer and Stray Haven volunteer--another one of those independent "help everyone" folks) and her little dog Rosie show off the Kuranda bed that Wildrun donated in memory of Pretty Girl and Gunsmoke. The very quiet dog with Rosie is, of course, mine. Debra is dog-sitting him because I couldn't stay for the whole breakfast, and my dog was needed to convince others to give beds, too.

Which apparently he did. One gentleman pledged to go home and order another bed online, and lots of folks tossed dollars in the dog bowl. Actually, Debra did, as she explained the beds to all who walked by, and why they are needed.

To order a dog bed for Stray Haven just go here and choose "Stray Haven and SPC" from the "Please select a shelter" list! We need around 40 beds to have one for every dog run.

And isn't Rosie cute as heck? I wonder how many times she popped off that bed before Debra got her photo?

If the gentleman follows through and orders a bed, that will be THREE count them THREE beds down, and 37 to go.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Christmas Stocking for Valentine's Day

Jack and The Leewit had a Christmas stocking at my place, hanging on the mantle, but it took me until Valentine's Day to get it in the mail for them. Like all children, they liked the toys, but loved the box!

Thanks for the photos, Mary!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The first beautiful Saturday of the year!

What to do? Go for a hike? Invite a friend over to grill lunch and bask in the sun on the porch? Build cold frames and begin a garden?

Oh no. Not here. Here the first sunny spring day on a weekend means turning on the outdoor water...and washing cat boxes!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rest, Gunny

A few years ago, a kind neighbor passed away. Her husband and her sister in Kenya asked for help with two senior cats, Miles and Gunsmoke. How often do you receive an email from Kenya asking if you might help with homeless pets, only to learn that the cats in question belong to your next-door neighbor? Both Miles and Gunny found wonderful homes with different nearby neighbors. Miles returned to Wildrun for vet care for his last days and passed away at age 16. Today, Gunny has passed on in the safety of his second loving home.

I cannot thank Donna and Tim enough for the loving home they provided to Gunny, and the care they provide to all the Wildrun cats when I travel.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Back porch heartbreak

Older citizen coaxes female kitty, whom she has been feeding on her back porch since kittenhood, into her house. Calls around to find local cat Caretaker to help her. Local cat Caretaker arranges contact with Wildrun. Wildrun says "sure, we can get Pretty Girl (aka Tribble) fixed." Pretty Girl comes to Wildrun and has uneventful spay. Charms us with her cute little dancing front paws. Right before Send Home Weekend, Pretty Girl is drooling a bit. Goes to vet, comes home with meds for calici virus. Over the weekend, Pretty Girl is not doing as well as she ought, although better. Monday, to vet again. FeLV test is positive.

Sigh. Sadness.

Owner says "I'll keep her for the rest of her life if you get her better."

Pretty Girl gets fluids, antibiotics, pain meds for her mouth ulcers. Is doing pretty damn well! Wildrun calls owner to arrange to bring Pretty Girl for an owner visit. Caretaker will be there too.

Morning, Pretty Girl is doing fine.

Afternoon, Pretty Girl has passed away. Where that morning there was a lifted head and bright eyes, that afternoon there is silence.

Wildrun calls owner to tell her. We are both numb, but the owner more so because, of course, she loves her pretty girl. She sent her pretty girl away to have her life improved, and she never came back.

Wildrun calls Caretaker to tell her. Caretaker will visit owner. Brave, brave caretaker.

Pretty Girl is mourned by three women who really, really wanted her to live. Four or more, if you count the veterinarians and staff involved.

And most of all, the woman who opened her back door to let her in.

Wildrun heads out to a bar in Owego, because, you know? Life sometimes just. plain. is. sad.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March 14 Pancake Breakfast to Benefit Stray Haven

Who wants to go with me to have a great breakfast to support Stray Haven and SPCA, our local shelter? This is this upcoming Saturday. Maybe could meet here and carpool over?

Also, I'm helping Debra (Waverly feral cat rescuer extraordinaire) with a Kuranda bed drive for Stray Haven. We aim to replace ALL of their Kuranda beds this spring so their dogs can sleep up off the cold run floors. They have some beds, but they have definitely reached the end of their life. I am purchasing them Bed Number One today, to hopefully take to the breakfast to drum up more support there as well.

So, let's do breakfast!


WHEN: Saturday, March 14th
Time: 8:00am – 11:00am

WHERE: Waverly United Methodist Church
158 Chemung St., Waverly, NY

TICKETS: Available at the door on Saturday, March 14th OR
IN ADVANCE at Stray Haven S.P.C.A. & Humane Society located at 194 Shepard Rd., Waverly, NY
• $6.00 per Adult
• $5.00 per Senior Citizen
• $4.00 per Child 12 and under

Come out and Enjoy Breakfast while supporting Your Local Humane Society……the dogs & cats thank you!


What about Wildrun, you say? Well, I'm planning a painting party once the weather gets warm, so fluff up your brushes and don't throw out that old shirt!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Roses and friends at the Spencer Business Expo

(Gratuitous "Hope and Simon" blogging above!)

Poor Tink! She didn't think much of being "poster kitty" at the Spencer Community Business Expo, but the kids sure loved her. She has recovered from her trauma after three hours of being cooed over and petted by countless citizens. She didn't appreciate the limelight the way Shakespeare and Espie have in the past. Donna W. and I made the rounds of the Expo with Tinker-in-arms (with harness and leash). At one point she looked relaxed and sound asleep as I walked. Don't be fooled. She was petrified and pretending. Poor girl!

Nonetheless, I had fun, and I even had the satisfaction of watching quite a few people pick up information on how to trap/neuter their cats. I suppose it's time to admit I go to the Expo to visit my fellow local business and spend precious dollars on beautiful things for not-so-much money.

Baker Florist was right across the aisle from me. He had buckets of roses for $10 a dozen. Not pre-made bundles with six nice roses and six that probably should be headed for the compost bin. You got to choose your own 12 roses from the four buckets of gorgeous roses he had there. They smelled heavenly. I waited until just before break-down time and chose 12 roses (six flame-point type, and six deep pink) and they now grace my piano in an antique vase.

Now and then I go in and bury my face in the bunch and breathe in. Roses are a luxury I enjoy every three years or so. It's difficult to spend money on something so transient. It's easier when you purchase them at a local fair from a local business that's just trying to make a living.

So, no guilt here.

I never get any adoption nibbles at the Expo, and only get a few dollars in donations. But people take my information and the kids just love petting whatever cat I bring along. One little boy was absolutely mute but, as he petted Tinker, kept looking up at his dad and smiling, pointing at Tink, looking up at his dad with a smile, pointing at Tink...His dad gave a big broad smile himself and reached down and petted her as well. The boy never said a word, but the smile on both of their faces made the whole day worth it for me.

That and the roses.

Good trapping day

In the interest of finally finishing all those responsibilities I've been putting off, I headed into Ithaca to trap Fast Food Ferals, as there are at least three "new" cats there -- or so I thought. As I drove in, the fuzzy tom cat, stepped out of a shelter and trotted away, which was surprising because he normally sticks around to watch me. Maybe he knew what was up. Hope's mom shot out of the same shelter, ran across the bridge, and watched me from the other side of the creek as I set a trap, baited it with tuna fish/dry food mix, covered it with a slit pillowcase, and retreated to my truck to watch.

She didn't disappoint me. 15 minutes later she was in the trap, in the back of my truck, and I was happily erasing feral kittens from my list of "unwanted things that could happen this spring if I don't get my butt in gear." I set a second trap and went back to my truck.

Fuzzy Tom did not appear, and it was starting to get dark and rain more heavily. Soon I wasn't going to be able to see the trap.

A black shape detached itself from the weeds and slunk slowly up to the trap. I had seen a black cat now and then across the creek. He or she always ran away when I arrived. I could never be sure if the cat were an old or new resident. Over the years, I've fixed at least six black cats there. This cat took forever to finally decide to go into the trap. At least...I thought the cat was in the trap. It was so dark, I was unsure if the door had fallen or not, and the last thing I wanted to do was scare the cat off if it were partway inside and the door was still open. Finally I was convinced that the trap was shaking (cat trying to get out) and I headed down to check the trap.

When I peered in, I saw my black cat. Only she wasn't black. She was torti.

It was Pichou!

Pichou was the cat who started it all. Back in 2001, when the fast food strip was still swarming with cats and kittens, a few cats, Pichou included, sported eartips. Someone was trying TNR. However, no one was feeding or sheltering the cats, and they continued to hang out forlornly in the bitter winter on the edges of dumpsters, etc. and kittens were still everywhere, because no one was attempting to catch all the cats. After learning who was responsible, and confirming there was no caretakers, I got my back and attitude up (as only I can!) and took the colony over. However, I was never able to catch Pichou for a booster rabies shot. She avoided the traps at every turn. For awhile, she almost became tame. When I was fixing the skirting on the old trailer (since removed) where she and Annie-the-gray-cat were living, she used to sit right behind me and watch me work. But one day she was suddenly shy again, and I often did not see her for months at a time.

Here she was, in my trap! I am thrilled. I'll take her off to the vet, have her teeth checked and get her shots, and I'll probably return her, since she's lived eight long years on the fast food strip and seems to have avoided the hazards of four-lane highways and parking lots.

Pichou was the fund-raising poster kitty for Alley Cat Allies during Hurricane Katrina. In the photo above she is genuinely perched over a flood, but a local one, not Katrina. If I can find the ACA announcement, I'll post it.

The other "new" cats will come to my farm to live as free-roaming barn cats, as I need to reduce the population on the fast food strip in case the abandoned lumber yard gets bulldozed. Only original cats will go back.

I'm afraid my camera is MIA, so no new photos until I track it down.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Keep me company at the Spencer Business Showcase Sunday!

I'm crawling out of my box and will be at the 2009 Spencer Community Business Showcase tomorrow (Sunday) 1-4 pm.

If you are local, I hope you'll find time to nip over to the Spencer Middle School. If you need flowers, Baker's Florist always has the most beautiful display. There are lots of crafts, and of course, yours truly. I wasn't able to go last year, but I have been there previous years.

Come visit me! I'm thinking Tinker may be the cat I tow along for this event.

One more thing on the "To Do" list.

Ironically, one aspect of my life that has been neglected is my Petfinder account. I discovered how badly it has been neglected when I received an inquiry about sweet Leo and discovered I had listed his age in years rather than posting a birthdate. I have him listed as four, and I know he is older than that. I am now digging out his record to update his age and send more accurate info to the inquirer, with apologies.

I am slowly, slowly, getting my life in order after years of being three steps behind in all things. I'll be posting exactly how I'm doing that on my personal blog (but not this morning!)

Friday, March 06, 2009

More reading....

Thank goodness my friends send me things, or this blog would be empty this week. Kim sends this link to an article about the BBC dropping coverage of the Crufts dog show due to breeding practices that are detrimental to the well-being of dogs.

Microchip reunites cat with owner

My friend Nancy had this link posted on her Facebook page.

I've considered chipping our Wildrun cats. It's something I should look into soon.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009