Sunday, October 31, 2010

Another cat...but found her owner

For the past few days I have seen a big torti running around the western part of my property, crossing the road by the creek. Today I heard Molly bark and there she was, crossing the road once again. I went out with a bowl of wet food and a scoop of dry, put the bowl down by the creek where I had seen her, and the dry food with one dollop of wet on top up by my compost bin, where she would end up if she followed the creek.

An hour later I took some old food from my fridge out to the bin. The wet food and some of the dry were gone. I heard rustling in the shrubs and I gave a "kitty kitty" call.

She must have figured that I was OK since I provided food, because instead of running away as she had on previous days, she came busting out of the bushes, looking hopeful.

I had set the lasagna pan down on the ground so I could open the compost bin. Her eyes lit up and she darted in, grabbed the top layer off the last old piece of lasagna, and ran.

I went back into the house for another can of cat food, and we played cat and mouse for quite awhile. She was walking oddly. One of her front feet turned inward. Finally she realized what I had in the can was much better than old lasagna. I was able to coax her to the door of the barn, where I scooped her up (grrrrRRRRRRRRrrrrr!!!!), took her inside, and popped her in a cage.

She was very hungry, but not that thin, and she was a big glossy girl. I recalled one of my neighbors up the hill stopping by this summer looking for a torti. This one clearly hadn't been lost for months, but the neighbor had mentioned she had TWO tortis. Of course I could not recall their names.

Because it was slightly likely she as someone's pet, I was about to haul her off to the vet for the twisted foot, when I recalled where the neighbor had said she lived. I took the photos above, and drove up the hill a mile or so and took a guess.

Surprise! A very nice gentleman was outside. He looked at the photos and said "Yup, she's ours. She's been missing a few days. Our daughter will be very happy to know she's safe!" I drove back down the hill, fetched the cat, and took her safely home

It turned out the odd gait was because she was declawed. She is also spayed, thank goodness.

Sadly, they did find their other lost cat. She had been killed by a car.

I was so glad to not be stuck with yet another cat, especially now that all the kittens are altered.

Now there is only one other cat running around my property--a big black tom that got in a huge fight with Bear four days ago.

Hey, it only took about 13 years....

With scraps of this and scraps of that I build pieces of my life. I won this framework at the NYS Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference in Hamilton NY well over ten years ago. It came with fabric, and was meant as an indoor rehab cage for songbirds. But now it will be a cat porch, since screening in my front porch will cost more than I can swing at the moment. The only thing I've had to buy so far have been the hardware cloth, some long screws, and some shelf brackets. And the stain. I doubt it will last more than five years since it's not made of pressure treated wood. In the meantime, the cats will enjoy a small bit of the outdoors--if I get it finished.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The passing of Gillian

So last night, Nancy sent over a Craiglist post for a lost sheep in Spencer. I ended up in the lost/found section of Craigslist, and as I do, I checked out the lost/found cat listings, to make sure none of the lost cats had turned up in my place, and none of the found cats were any of my past adopted cats.

I found this ad:

we are very sorry to report that we found a cat--not living--on rt.96 very close to Rogan's corner gas station...we found her (i'm assuming it was a female) on 10/10...we took her home for a loving burial......go to the PET section for a full description..the post is titled: FOUND date is the same as this one: 10/21----craig's is not letting me post the same in two catagories so not including description can contact me for whatever help i can be...

Which is near the South Hill cats. So I scrolled through "pets"...

this is not good news..i'm very sorry to say we found a cat in the PM on 10/10 that had been struck by a car a very short time before we arrived...the cat was not alive...we took him/her home and gave the cat a loving burial...the cat was 3 or 4 colors so i assume a female...she was beefy, about 13 or 14 lbs.--black tiger stripes on a mixed color background of light brown; light gray and white hair flecks......white hind legs, white front paws....white bib and muzzel with stipped mask around eyes and ears...very big gold eyes and a black ringed racoon tail---very beautiful....this was on rt. 96, very close to Rogan's Corner gas are welcome to contact me and we can make arrangements which might help you to deal with this...again, this is news i hate to bring to anyone who loves their pet....

Gillian. I knew it was Gillian.

I emailed her photo over to the person who posted the ad, and they wrote back a lovely but very sad note that they were certain it was she, and they asked her name, which was extremely touching to me, and pretty much destroyed me emotionally. It is incredible what simple things indicate kindness from a stranger.

You see, there are so many people in the world who would just drive by a dead cat in the road. How many people would stop on a very busy highway (four lanes!) to pick up a cat, carry her home, bury her in their own yard, and then post on Craigslist to try and find the owner? How many people, once confirming the identity of the cat, would write and say "We would like to know her name?"

I emailed Mark, because since leaving IC I only feed Gillian on weekends, and he confirmed this morning that he hadn't seen her in about three weeks, but that there was another cat eating at the feeding station.

Gillian showed up at Ithaca College about eight years ago, with two kittens, one of whom is Leo, who is still here with me. She was feral. I sort of just casually asked the grounds supervisor if he wouldn't mind a mouser in the barn, and he said "sure," so trap/neuter/return was born at IC. Gillian has been living amongst the tractors, trucks, buildings, and a passing history of recyclable chairs, desks, and other interesting items for eight years. Periodically she would be spotted sleeping in the sun on what had once been a plush office chair.

We named her after the past president's wife, Gillian. Mrs. Whalen used to have a horse at the barn, and she was a terror (in a good way) at making sure that horse was cared for, and periodically ended up at my dispatch desk at Campus Safety to contact the vet when the horse needed care. It seemed fitting, after she and Dr. Whalen left IC, to have a "Gillian" in the barn.

Over the years, the farmhouse was torn down, the barn was tightened up and used for storage, but Gillian remained. Her feeding station has moved from place to place depending on how things got shifted, but she always found it. She was never sick, never injured, but I always worried about the day when she would just disappear, like all ferals do, victim to one awful thing or another.

I worried that the current wildlife control contractor might truck her off someone if someone complained about her.

I didn't always see her on weekends, but now and then I would sit in my car and wait after filling the bowl, slamming down the top on the feeding station, and yelling "kitty, kitty, kitty!" and she would come sauntering calmly out for her dinner.

Eight years is a good long life for a full feral cat, and a car is probably the best possible end she could hope for. That she was actually picked up, carried, home, and buried in someone's yard is something short of a miracle.

I took the day off today. I found I really couldn't function. The loss of Gillian is also a loss of a bit more of the connection with IC.  I trapped over 130 cats on that campus since 1988. I expect I'll go trap the new cat, and if he's friendly, he'll go to the TC SPCA to find a home and the feeding station will be packed up and brought back to Wildrun.

And there will be no more weekend runs to feed Gillian.

Rest in peace, little girl.

How do grown cats hide from a passel of kittens?


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jeeves is now Bubba

If that isn't a drastic name change, I'm not sure what is!  :)  He sure looks happy. His first week at his new home he found his way into the wall and ended up traveling from the second floor to the cellar. He might be a bit too big for those kitten-holes now.

He does kind of have a "Bubba" look about him, doesn't he?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

If you support PeTA, you support killing cats

ALL the cats on these blog pages. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Even the adoptable ones. Why? Because if we told landowners the only option we could offer for their barn cats and back porch ferals was death, they wouldn't let us on their property to help.

And who would kill these cats? The state of NY and our local towns provide zero funding for cats. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. All cat control in this county is provided via the donors to Stray Haven (who receive no municipal funding for cats when last I checked), and via volunteers on the street.

So what's better? Unfixed cats that suffer and die anyway, or fixed cats that have a better life and produce no future kittens, and kittens and friendlies that get help and homes?

PeTA states they are an animal rights group, yet they propose you destroy a feral cat's "right" to life. They destroy 95% percent of all the animals that come into their own shelter (2006). That's the worst of the worst as far as kill rates go.

With a B.A. in Philosophy, I'm no Tom Regan, but I guarantee PeTA would flunk the "defense of a right to life" test.

If you send any money to PeTA, send it to your local shelter instead.

This was written in support of this "Yes, Biscuit" post.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The more visitors they get, the more relaxed they get...

Gretchen came over today to help me to not destroy the vinyl flooring I was putting down (it can rip if you look at it wrong) and to socialize kittens. After a long kitten-play session, and work on the floor upstairs, we came down and the kittens were all arrayed comfortably along the back of the couch. We both looked at one another and the unspoken "Don't scare them! Get cameras!" look came into both our eyes.

And believe it or not, those kittens didn't move! Bless them.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Blaming it all on kittens...

I've been absent from the blog a long while. I'd like to blame it on the kittens but frankly, it's just me. The horse farm litter is now large enough to adopt out, and I'm going to have to promote them hard before they get beyond the cute and fuzzy stage. It's so difficult, because getting spay/neuter appointments right when they hit three pounds depends a lot on how busy the vet is.

Bob isn't going to hit 3lbs for awhile yet. He's the runt of the litter and my personal favorite. He's sooooo tiny and has perpetually worried eyes. But he was the first one to curl up next to me on the couch and fall asleep.

(Post Note: Oops. Bob is a girl)

Sunny has her unusual markings on her face. She'll be over 3lbs soon and can soon be spayed.

Zootie may already have a home, although he was still pretty shy with the two young boys in the family when they came to visit. He just got neutered.

And this little girl, Cinnabon (the name was stolen from a cat The Shelter Pet Project featured on their Facebook page)is just the prettiest little thing imaginable. Like Zootie, she's a chunk.

There are eight of them (including Gulliver, a kitten abandoned in Candor whose just a bit bigger than the seven horse barn kittens). I finally moved them downstairs to my den because they were growing up too shy in my quiet upstairs.