Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pushing the webcam two steps farther...

for adoptions!

I've been looking into a webcam for the cat facility, but bandwidth--and access across the road--has been an issue. An alternative has been to set up my guest room as a cat room for featured cats or kittens, since that is in the house (and there is already internet access here)and is far brighter (and therefore would feature the cats more successfully).

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Options for feline double amputees

While prosthetic paws are out of my financial league, for people who feel time and mobility is just as valuable as money, this alternative to euthanasia or caring for a cart-bound kitty could be an option in the future.

I am the caretaker of a three-legged feline. I believe a single-leg injury is probably best managed via amputation. Three-legged cats get along quite well. I think Cricket actually appreciates the rapid pivoting power she gets with a single hind leg.

Prosthetic devices like this that are attached to the bone have infection concerns that would be life-long. However, some owners are now paying thousands upon thousands to treat pet cats for cancer, etc. Devices of this sort might not be out of the range of a person who would rather part with money than care for a cart-bound kitty.

It will be interesting to see how Oscar fares with his new footies. I'm curious to know if he leaves them alone when grooming, or if he fusses over the healing area between flesh and metal.

Thanks to Valarie (or Craig? I can never tell because they often use the same address) for sending this link!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

We've got kittens!

About a month ago when I was picking up Molly at her kennel I noticed a dark movement when I passed the old stable half-door. "Are those kittens?" I said, surprised, because the kennel owner had been getting the cats spayed.

Yes, indeed. There had been one cat left, and she had presented him with kittens. She is spayed now, but her legacy lives on. I wanted to nab them earlier, but I was traveling and could not. So today when I went to pick up Molly after returning from Georgia, I brought a net, gloves, wet food, and some paper plates. It turns out the paper plates and wet food were all that were required.

I told him I'd work with them over the next week, and those that were adoptable I would keep, and those that seemed very shy I would get fixed and bring back to him as soon as possible. I can't "get stuck" with shy cats when I still have Morgan, Arthur, and Faith to find homes for. Not to mention Longfellow and Wiggles.

It's always great to have kittens to work with. They are cute, healthy looking furballs. They have ear mites, but otherwise seem fine. I'll post more on them tomorrow.


I'm not a big fan of flying, although I do like the fact that it gets you to magical places. Last week I was off to Georgia. To make sure I could get a later flight if there were issues with my original flight (a mechanical issues on a plane out of Ithaca sometimes mean you won't be leaving until the next day) I arranged to fly out of Syracuse.

Until I got a flat tire and it seemed clear I was going to miss my flight. I called to reschedule and they said they could get me out of Ithaca. So off I went to catch my Gnat-8...oh yeah, "Dart-8"...the second-smallest plane in the USAirways fleet. It's so small you get to watch the landing gear go up and down, because it's on the wings.

However, a benefit of taking a small plane on a clear day is that they fly pretty low, and you get to check out Cornell University from above.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Whitten Wu!

This is Ferdinand, all grown up! His name is Whitten Wu.

"At not even one year old, he has grown into quite a substantial cat already. He remains the sweetest, most tolerant and unflappable cat I have ever met. The only thing that seems to bother him is dogs - my parents have a mature cocker spaniel who comes with them when they visit for an afternoon now and then, who is actually very neutral towards cats, but Whitten never sticks around to find out. He loves to be with his people and is often found laying on the family room carpet in the middle of a sea of toys, and within a few feet of my rather loud little boy as he plays. If we are sitting out on the porch or eating a meal at the picnic table in the yard, Whitten perches in the closest window and calls to us.

We're very grateful to have had him join our family. I hope you enjoy these pictures. Look at that big, fluffy tail!"

I'm loving these names the kittens are ending up with! It sure sounds like Mr. Whitten Wu scored a happy life.

Stayed tuned. Next week you may get to see another crop of fuzzies. ;)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

So far, so good...

It may not be a truck, but it's working so far. It doesn't even sink toward the back with all this weight in it.

Of course, it's not full of cats going to a spay/neuter clinic. The back seat need to go in order for that to happen.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cats Trees of an extraordinary sort

Are you thinking about cat furniture, but you don't want the same old thing? Well here you go! Crijo Pet Products.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Where it all began. Buy it?

Today I spent a few hours helping my mom. She had a lovely little crabapple in her garden that had, sadly, bit the dust and needed to be cut down. I figured my reciprocating saw might be able to handle it, so in return for a really good dinner, my sister Kathy and I went over for a few hours. Kathy worked in the house, and I worked in the garden. I had to get a new blade from Lowes (the saleskid there was very helpful), but we got that tree down. Molly acted as inspector and foot-tangler. Both mom and Kathy helped with the tree so it didn't fall on my head.

Now and then I entertain the idea of moving to Norwich. The vet hospital where I worked as a teenager has been for sale for a few years now. Dr. Briggs passed away and it was sold and rented to a new young vet, who managed it successfully and recently built a newer, nicer facility just outside of town. Since then what I knew as "Four Winds" has just been sitting there.

By the way. Those trees behind the building? They were shorter than I was when I worked there many moons ago. And now they probably should be removed.

I was hoping it would be going for somewhere near $100,000, but unfortunately they are asking $160K It would need at least $30K for improvements, and I'm sure the surgery is probably gone so would need to be replaced if it were to become a spay/neuter clinic and boarding facility.

Ah well. More dreams.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Last year's kittens grow up!

Phillip and Cheeto show off their grown-up weaponry. And by the way, I know all my kittens now have new names, but I have the hardest time remembering them, especially when their loving owners also give them nicknames as well on their Facebook photos!

These two get lots of snuggles from Christy and Gordon. I find it very amusing that I met them when I helped them find home for two kittens that showed up at their place..and they ended up adopting two young cats from me later on!

Taco is now MojoJojo Taco Shell (OK, that name is unforgettable!), and he looks just like his brother Longfellow who is still here at Wildrun. It looks like all those maulings by Molly-the-dog paid off in the "I like dogs" dynamic, huh? Gina also sent a very sweet photo of MojoJoJo with his young caretaker, but I don't blog photos of kids without the parent's permission.

Another year passes....

I have more adopter photos to post later on!

Friday, June 11, 2010

It has been an odd week

It's been an odd week. It seems like every simple issue I had to deal with at work turned into a 3-4 email chore (Just do what I say, people, and everything will be all right, okay? I don't tell you "this is how it has to be done" just to make you jump through hoops. Seriously--it's how it has to be done. They are computers. They don't make exceptions. Just follow my instructions and don't email back and say "do we really have to do this?") Gosh. It's enough to drive a girl to drink.

Also, I've been watching movies. I'm the kind of person who gets far too reflective after watching a movie. First of all, there's that moment when the movie is over and you discover you are back in your own, mundane real world. Then you realize you have to deal with the same problems you had when you turned the movie on. Then you begin to apply the lessons of the movie to the problems in your life. Which, depending on what movie you've been watching, can be a good thing, a thoughtful thing, or a total exercise in futility.

The movies I watched this week were "Up in The Air" and "Up." Maybe we'll discuss those lessons another time. Maybe not.

About halfway through "Up" Molly began growling out on the porch. She growls a lot nowadays, since I keep telling her that barking is not acceptable. But she's a little dog, and you can't expect a little dog to let things like squirrels and woodchucks go unchallenged. So I find the growling quite amusing, and at least it doesn't annoy the neighbors.

Tonight, however, she was growling with serious intent at the old heavy wood crate on the other side of the cellar door (still half-built). And there was something inside.

Oppossum, I figured, and smiled, because I really like possums. They have quite a set of teeth, however, so I put Molly inside, which offended her terribly. I pulled my backup catchpole out of the closet and grabbed a flashlight, figuring I'd just fish the little guy out and and send him packing into the woods so he/she and Molly didn't have an encounter.

Those who have been reading the blog since the old Caitlin Walker days know I used to have a wildlife control business. So when I walked up to the doghouse, and it made a high-pitched whine, I stopped dead and thought "Oh, shit."

Sick raccoon.

There is a noise that only rabid raccoons make. This is an absolute. Healthy raccoons do not whine. Baby raccoons make that pretty little chitter. The whine of a rabid raccoon is not pretty at all. This raccoon was whining, singing, and growling as he chewed the crap out of the cat bed inside the crate, for no particular reason other than a virus eating out his brain.

I wasn't quite brave enough to just stick the catchpole in there and grab him out like I might have in the "old days." I carefully set a trap and dumped a can of tuna fish through the top. He came charging out in short order and was caught. Then the roaring began. I was on the phone with my mom as I watched the trap, so she had the privilege of hearing a sick raccoon roar. A healthy raccoon is going to give you a good dose of snarling when she's stuck in a cage trap. But nothing can roar like a sick raccoon.

There really isn't a sadder disease than rabies. In general, the animals are not furiously aggressive. Foxes are an exception, and the occasional raccoon. Skunks will walk right up to you and start chewing on your shoe laces. I've held towels out in front of me and rabid skunks have just walked right into them to be bundled up and carted away. Usually they are just sick, wandering creatures that are usually dirty and injured, because they don't care what they fall over or fight with, and even chew on themselves. It takes a few weeks for the disease to reach their central nervous system. During that time their behavior is normal and they can't infect another animals. But once it hits the brain they start to die and then they shed the disease through their saliva. In seven to ten days they are dead. And they usually keep moving the entire time.

This is why, if you are bitten by a domestic animal, the animal is quarantined for 10 days. If the animal was shedding rabies when you were bitten, it will be dead within the those 10 days. If it's still alive, it may still be incubating rabies, but it wasn't infective when it bit you.

When rabies hit NYS in 1990 or so, I was picking up as many as five dead or sick raccoons a day, putting down the sick ones, and trucking them off to Cornell University for testing. I had the dubious distinction of capturing the very first rabid raccoon in the City of Ithaca in the carpet warehouse of Wicks Lumber (yes, where years later the Fast Food Ferals would live). That raccoon introduced me to the singing whine that is the trademark of the disease in these beautiful masked animals.

So yes, the raccoon from my yard is now dead.

There will people who will ask "you can't possibly be certain the raccoon had rabies. Why didn't you take it to a vet or a wildlife rehabber?" I have argued this same argument for hours in years past, and I no longer do it. FIRST, I DO know. And if you ask any person who has ever worked with raccoons in an area with rabies, they'll all say the same thing "Yes, you DO, after you've handled so many." One year I counted up my logs, and I'd picked up 100 raccoons that tested positive for rabies, and another 100 that were rabies suspect. SECOND, no vet will let you within twenty feet of the door of their clinic with a sick raccoon, and with good reason. THIRD, the only certain test for rabies involves killing the animal to test brain tissue.

So the candle is lit tonight for the raccoon, and tomorrow I'll drag that old cat house out in the sun to dry out thoroughly so it can be thrown out (drying kills the virus), and the poor raccoon will end his existence in the landfill. It is not an easy disease.

Luckily the raccoon was male, so there are no babies in a tree somewhere waiting for mom to come home. At this time of year, no removal or relocation of wildlife should take place, since young are in their dens.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Where does your milk come from?

I grew up in the dairy industry. Any farm that utilizes animals involves some innate cruelty (even animal rescue or animal sheltering can involve cruelty), nonetheless, what has occurred in the dairy industry over the decades is an outright crime.

We didn't live on a farm, but I visited farms with my dad, who was an artificial insemination technician, and with my first boss, who was a vet. I also stayed on farms during the summer when I was a kid.

Big corporations have made it difficult for small farms (where cows at least go out the pasture for a large portion of their day) to survive. Cows now spend their entire lives in muck-filled barns and yards, and male calves, who are worth nothing as milkers, are trucked off into the crate-veal industry instead of being put out to pasture for six months and killed for beef. The end result is the same for the cow, but the life in between birth and death is radically different.

When I grew up, ear-tagging was one of the most inhumane parts of dairy work. No farmers I knew would cut off a tail. Tails were vital to the comfort in the cows so they could brush off flies in the pasture. The cows were even wiped down with fly spray so they were more comfortable in the field (comfortable cows = more milk, back in the days before hormones).

It was still a brutal place. Cows would get mastitis. If they got ill and "went down" getting them back up (so they would live) often involved beating the cows up horribly. When I worked for a vet, I watched the vet go after a downed cow with a pitch fork to "get her up."

And any animal business can be victim to those human beings who, out of anger in their own lives, take it out on the animals.

This ABC News blog post will provide a glimpse into what large-scale farming is like.

While the outright one-person cruelty is hardest to watch (even I had to turn it off) in the first video, it is the statement of the farmer put in the position of having to say whether or not a cow feels pain when her tail is cut off without anesthetic that is most telling (the second video).

When you are exposed to cruelty over and over, you begin to tell yourself it's "all right." This can be true in sheltering and rescue, as well as industry.

The fact is, any time you work with animals, if you allow yourself to become a victim of irrational thought ("it doesn't hurt cows to cut off their tails" or "our cows that are confined 100% of their lives are happy healthy cows") the animals in your care are literally victims of your cruelty.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Yappy Hour 5-7 June 12

Gizmo's adopter Nancy Cusumano is hosting Yappy Hour at the Oasis (96B above Ithaca College) next week. Anyone want to go? If you don't have a dog you can come along with Molly and I!

Remember, days start getting shorter on June 21st! The time to celebrate summer is now!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

ASPCA/Cornell Shelter Medicine Mini-Conference -- FREE!

7th Annual
ASPCA/Cornell Shelter Medicine Mini-Conference
Sunday August 1, 2010
Lecture Hall I, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University

8a: Registration and Breakfast
8:25a: Welcome (Dr. Leslie Appel, Shelter Outreach Services)
8:30a: Cornell Shelter Medicine Program Update (Dr. Jan Scarlett, Cornell University)
8:45a Treatment of Common Infectious Diseases in the Shelter (Dr. Jan Scarlett, Dr. Elizabeth Berliner, Dr. Mike Greenberg, Cornell University)
10:45a: BREAK
11:00a: Shelter Transport Programs (Dr. Elizabeth Berliner, Cornell University)
12:15p: LUNCH and Networking
1:00p: Feral Cat TNR (Dr. Kathy Makolinski, ASPCA)
1:50p: Updates from the Animal Welfare Community (Dr. Kathy Makolinski, ASPCA)
2:20p: Recruiting and Maintaining Volunteers (Beth Brunelle, Volunteer Program Coordinator, Tompkins County SPCA)
3:00p: BREAK
3:15p: Zoonosis (Dr. Andy Newmark, The Humane Society at Lollypop Farm)
4:45p: Conference Wrap-Up/Questions/Networking
5:00p: Safe Trip Home

REGISTRATION is FREE again this year!
Breakfast and Lunch Provided
Please RSVP to Dr. Appel at or 607-592-8892
Registration due by July 20, 2010

The conference will take place in Lecture Hall I in the Atrium at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Tower Road, Ithaca, NY

Farewell to the Ditz

Prickly little Ditzy passed away Saturday night. Here is a photo of her from last month.

No more pacing by the window for Ditz. I'll never know what caused her to be such a quirky cat, but at least she was relaxed, affectionate, and purring her last days here.

Thank you all for the many kind thoughts here and on Facebook. Those of you who have met Ditz know she was quite the original cat!

Post Note: Tentative Diagnosis: previously undiagnosed heart disease.