Sunday, January 30, 2011

Zootie returns

Zootie's family emailed to say that it just wasn't working out. Zootie wasn't bonding with the family (who has two very active young boys) and he would not let them pet him. He interacted with the other cat in the household, but not with them. So absolutely, we will take him back. We have a "no questions asked" clause for our cats. Of course, I do ask some questions. "Is he using the litterbox," etc. I was assured he does use the box, although apparently he doesn't cover his handiwork.

I was concerned about getting back a kitten who was really shy, after four months in another household. But Zootie has been very affectionate since his arrival here, and lets me carry him around. He immediately comes to me when I walk into the room, and rubs around my legs. Perhaps, having grown up in a quiet household with a woman, he just doesn't know what to make of men and normal active boys.

So we'll just need to find him a quiet home with a woman. He is quite cautious of the cats outside the door to his room, and hissed at Myssie, his sister. Over time, I'm sure he'll get used to them. I'll keep him restricted for a few days until he is more comfortable.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Greene colony continued

I received an update from the folks in Greene who are TNRing their cats. "George" was picture-perfect in the pre-baiting stage. They fed him in the trap up until the night before the vet appointment.

George apparently was quickly caught at the appointed time and made it safely to the vet, where it was discovered "Georgie" was in fact "Georgie-Girl." We know how that goes!

Please note the perfect use of two slit pillowcases to cover the trap. This beats the heck of out bundling the trap up in an ungainly sheet (although a sheet is still good if you need to house the cat overnight and want to be sure he/she doesn't pull the cover off). These nice neat covers make things a lot less cumbersome on you, the vet, and don't take up 1/3 of a load of laundry afterward.

...and then moved successfully into the feral cat den I lent them (they already had everything else they needed).

After a week or more of rest in a warm, sheltered, indoor location in her cage, Georgie-Girl will be freed back outside the house, to face a kitten-free spring!

And then it will be Shadow's turn:

Rather than housing and adopting out cats, this is really what I would like to do: Create a spay/neuter fund that would finance spay/neuter for people like this, have an equipment bank to lent traps, cages, and dens to the public, and provide training.

It's just a 501(c)(3) away...

(note: Why not just kill the cats? Ecocatwoman has a great post this morning summarizing why this hasn't worked. And she blogged TWO HOURS before I did this morning. She is far more productive on a Saturday morning than I am!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Girl Bob gets a home

Her new owner was searching for a play-and-snuggle-buddy for her active 10-year-old cat who recently lost his feline friend to kidney disease.

I think Girl Bob has the snuggling part down pretty well, don't you? Here she is practicing with Tyler:

Because Girl Bob is so tiny, I'm taking her to the vet for a pre-adoption vet visit. She was checked quickly before she was spayed, but I think a good listening-to is in order.

I've received a bunch of inquiries on Tyler. Some have been gift requests. Tyler is complex enough that he really needs to be specifically chosen. He was very charming with Kim, who adopted Girl Bob, after being quite nervous around the couple who came by earlier in the weekend. Somewhere out there is the right home for him.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Folks who want to learn

Every now and then I get a wonderful and rare email. The person won't be wanting to adopt a cat from me. They won't be wanting me to take a cat from me. They won't be wanting me to fix any cats for them.

They will have feral cats of their own that appeared one day, the way feral cats do. They will already have taken some good steps to care for them. They will have already realized they need to fix the cats before spring arrives. They will have already been wise enough to look for help online. That's how they usually find me.

You want me to do ANYTHING for you? Just send me a photo like this:

Her name is Shadow.

I lend you anything I own if you have already taken steps to get your porch cats safe and warm. These kitties are from Greene NY, my very first hometown, where I lived until I was 4. Their caretakers were already well on the way the TNRing them. I sent them to the Neighborhood Cats page to buy one of their special "cat trap and isolator" packages and told them I'd be happy to lend them a feral cat den.

They came out on Sunday and brought their new trap (so shipping must really be fast!) It was the first time I'd seen the trap, and I'm very happy with it and will continue to recommend it. The flat hand-guard needs to be removed, because the edges are too sharp and a frantic cat, or a mistakenly caught raccoon, could shred their paws on it (been there, done that, in my nuisance wildlife control days). With the hand-guard removed, it is important to keep gloves on. I miss some of the older traps that used to just have extra wire bars as a hard-guard, so the animal could not reach through. Or the hand-guard should be thicker and the edges smoothed.

Other than that, it's a beautiful trap. I still like that the Safeguard traps I own are a bit wider than the Tomahawk. A plastic double food bowl does not fit easily in the Tomahawk, and it does in the Safeguard. But the wider pan, and the easy back door lock, more than make up for overall width in the new Tomahawk. If you buy the kit, you also get an isolator (which I need to start calling a "trap divider", which nowadays is required equipment for safe and humane feral cat handling. The price for the kit is very affordable for what you get. Previously I steered people away from Tomahawk traps because they were quite expensive. You could get two nice wide Safeguards for the cost of one Tomahawk trap. Not any more!

I may still buy the Safeguards myself (maybe) but for a new trapper, the Tomahawk is a beautiful thing, especially that wide trip pan that a cat is less likely to step over, and that easy-as-pie backdoor latch.

We talked about getting the cat out of the trap and into the den, and into the cage. They already had a wire cage so did not need to borrow the one I have. We visited the cats upstairs. It was a joy to talk to people who obviously cared about their cats because it was simply the right thing to do.

This kitten is so beautiful he almost doesn't look real!

Once these cats are fixed, there will be no growing population of kittens next spring, and no hungry mother cat catching birds or whatever she can get her paws on to feed her litter.

That's what it's all about.

Girl Bob video

...and me babytalking. Must. Stop. This.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Faith, with a cameo by Arthur, and Morgaine

I'm not sure why it is slightly greyed out. It looks bright and clear on the camcorder.

The mewing in the background is not Faith, it is Cinnabon, who was very distressed that I was paying attention to someone else than her. Unfortunately we never got to hear Faith's cute little chirpy voice.

Here is little Morgaine with her pretty sunny face:

Baby, it's cold out there...

Brrrrrr! It's really cold out there. The banner arrived yesterday. It is smaller than I expected, but still quite visible. I'll order a larger one the next time I need to do a VistaPrint order. The large banners aren't "free"--the small ones are.  I wanted to attach this a bit closer to the road, but the ground there isn't even enough to use a ladder, and I'm quite careful with ladders. I don't want to be one of those "found frozen in the snow" stories in the local news.

We had visitors yesterday, but Tyler was wary of the gentleman. I think I need to be clearer on my pet profiles that people will need to sit quietly with my cats for ten minutes before trying to pick them up. If a kitten or cat gets grabbed before they are comfortable with the situation, they aren't likely to let themselves get grabbed again. I need to do a better job of conveying this to visitors. Their current cat is a real mush-ball, so I think they will be happier with an outgoing cat/kitten of more traditional background. So Tyler is still here with me, but is very welcome.

The light was good this morning (as good as it can get in the cat facility) so I spent some time taking video. It's faster to take than it is to upload to YouTube via my tiny netbook (about 50 minutes for a long video). Once I've learned to cut and edit the videos, this time will go down, but I'm not there yet--not due to lack of aptitude, but due to lack of time. In other words, I haven't even tried.

So once Faith's video is done chugging along, I'll post a link here.

Stay warm!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Longfellow and Wiggles find a wonderful home

A few weeks ago, I posted that Longfellow was off to a new home in NYC. Well, sadly, that home fell through. The adopters found a cat closer to home, and while we are always happy when any homeless cat is adopted, it was a disappointment. There had been lots of preparations for the the trip (the vet visit, the new tires "just in case" a snowstorm hit, the borrowed GPS, the new camcorder to be sure the adopters had more than just photos and emails to view, etc.).

All of these are investments I needed to make anyway. I probably wouldn't have lumped them all together, but the camcorder is getting me increased inquiries on my other kittens, the new tires are like Velcro in the snow, and Longfellow was due for his vet visit anyway.

It seems like there is almost always a reason "things happen." Because not only has Longfellow been adopted into a new local home, his sister Wiggles has as well!

Renee and her family had adopted a totally feral cat from me for their barn about six years ago (I believe?), and given him a wonderful life (ongoing vet care, a new barn cat buddy, a new barn when they moved). Renee has periodically sent updates--even a photo of her hugging a cat I had been certain was forever unhuggable. They were now looking for a pair of kittens upon the passing of their beloved house cat.

They came to visit, and while the kittens were charming, it was Wiggles who pulled out all the stops, drawing brother Longfellow along with her. She climbed right into laps, purring loudly and gazing soulfully into their eyes.

Guess what?

Today Renee sent photos of Longfellow and Wiggles, now Comet and Halley, well-settled into a beautiful home where they are now the one-and-onlys.  Just like every cat deserves. A home of their very own.

"They slept with us the very first night and have been pretty much every night since.  Once in awhile I hear one of them raising heck with the toys in the living room.  Usually it is Comet, but last night it was Halley because Comet was sleeping next to me!
Our favorite game has been to take the feathers they have torn off toys and put them on the forced air vents on the floor when the heat is running.  The feathers fly up and look like moths.  It is great fun for all of us and the feathers are getting "recycled"!  I expect great things from them when we get moths in the house next summer"

I have to say, the first evening they were gone, it was a bit of a shock when I shook the treat bag, and only my five pet cats came running out. Some readers may shake their heads at five, but for years I had seven pets cats. Two passed away, and Longfellow and Wiggles got house privileges to maintain the status quo. Five cats may seem like a lot, but seven is pretty much a swarm!

When only five cats fit quietly around two plates in my kitchen, it seemed downright quiet around here. In bed that night....I had no cats! None of my oldsters was willing to brave the cold and come up to keep me company!

Ivan has since realized he will have no competition upstairs (and remembers there is an electric blanket) so he has finally started joining me. Toward morning, Nellie comes up as well. 

I will miss Longfellow and Wiggles. I have to say I got a bit weepy-eyed when their photos arrived. But there could not be a better home for them. I could not have written a fairy tale that ends this well.

It's not like we can't find kittens who would like to fill the vacancy...



By the way, handsome grey Tyler has a visitor tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for him!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tyler and Girl Bob videos

No music, no commentary, nothing amazing, just young cats!

Tyler, examining the distractions in the Great Room:

Tinsel-ball soccer with Girl Bob:

Monday, January 10, 2011

How is your back, Gretchen?

The ceiling in Room One is done! Thank you, Gretchen!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

More work on the cat rooms, and tracks in the snow...

Gretchen is coming over Sunday to help work on the ceilings in the new cat rooms. I bought three rolls of paper. I'm sure it will take more for both rooms, but given the cost it seemed wise to underestimate rather than over-estimate. I decided to get a start on the knee walls, since my only real experience with wallpapering is helping my mother 35 years ago.

In those days, there was no nice flexible pre-pasted wallpaper. Nowadays all you have to do is wet the stuff in the bathtub for 10 seconds. Back then it was a messy job of mixing paste and putting just the right amount on with a big wooden brush.

Let's face it. What my upstairs needs is a total gutting, but that won't happen until there is a miraculous extra 30K in the bank. Until then, I'm just covering up what someone once considered a renovation.

Can you believe I've lived here for 11 years and still haven't removed the little stars the kids put up from the previous owner? In fact, one of those kids is in college and has fostered two litters of kittens for me. Times flies.

This damage, however, is my fault, from bashing the ceiling with the board that serves as a door into the knee wall.

I discovered that you shouldn't push the seams too closely together, or they buckle and don't lie smoothly. Better a small gap than a pushed-up seam.

You can tell the ceiling tile is under there, but it is a huge improvement. I find it amazing that I'm enjoying fixing up these rooms, when five years ago I would have found it a huge chore.

I shoveled my way out the wood pile this evening and found more cat tracks. The poor guy is wandering around in my back yard somewhere. Hopefully he'll head back down to the barn and find the food I put out for him (or her).

Nancy fed the cats in Ithaca today so I didn't have to haul myself all the way in and back, so I had a little time to spend on the computer (for myself). I had promised my sister business cards (Vistaprint keeps sending me "free" coupons, which of course they make up for in high shipping/handling fees). In with the free business cards was an offer for a "free" banner that somehow ended up cost me $6.95. Still a bargain:

I plan on hanging it on the side of my barn. I don't care who thinks I'm a crazy lady at this point.

I have a new blogging buddy. Myssie has decided cuddling is OK. Now if only Girl Bob would get brave enough to come down off the bottom step of the stairs and join us.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Feline home improvement

Financially I am not bringing in enough a month to increase my bank account. It keeps going down, smidgeon by smidgeon, and we know what this means over the long run. I considered a house mate, but frankly, I just can't do it. I need a second bathroom and a second entry to be able to tolerate someone in my living space. Personally, I'd love the company, but no, if I'm stuck downstairs, I don't want the person also having to come through my area to get to theirs.

But I still have these unused rooms upstairs, and frankly they needed an overhaul anyway. One was a guest room (closed off to protect it from cat fur, and unused, because who comes to Spencer?). And one just sat there. Both had 20 year old red carpet and a blah off-white paint job.

It occurred to me that these two rooms would make great cat boarding rooms for someone who didn't want their cat(s) in a condo or a cage. Each room is big enough for up to five cats, so if someone were going away a long while and wanted a place to keep their family of felines, well, here you go.

I ripped up the carpet. Gretchen and Nancy helped me with the vinyl. The kittens amused me as I painted. I'll likely need to call for help to paper the ceilings (they are tile board. Yick). But slowly things are coming together.

What an improvement! I recently received a gift card for professional reasons (not a kitty donation), and with that I will purchase two of these. Chairs will be covered so things can be washed between cat visits. I need to resurrect my tax ID number, as well as liability insurance.

Right now, rescued kittens Myssie and Girl Bob are living in luxury (and then have the run of the house in the evening). I figure they can test out any problems for me. The window sills need wider shelves and ramps. The electric heaters are working quite nicely at keeping the temperatures constant, unlike the rest of the house, which fluctuates due to the wood stove and air-forced furnace.

If you are planning any vacations and need a place to keep your kitties, keep me in mind!

And doesn't it figure that as soon as I ripped out the guest room, my sister stayed the night. Oh well, that's what I have a futon couch in the Great Room for!

More feline Christmas cheer

Donna sent a photo of sweet Espie to cheer me up when I was sick. How could she not make someone smile?

And then of course there is little Dude. Debra sent his photo along (and yes, we need to get together soon!)

And while I've already blogged this photo of Zuzu, I had to include her beauteousness in honor of the good thoughts Stephanie sends throughout the year.

Speaking of friends, this week Nancy is feeding the Fast Food Ferals while Kat is on vacation, and she also used some of her magical contacts to help keep them safe another year, as their shelters need to move yet again. She found them a place to go. We love you, Nancy! Nancy adopted Gizmo, formerly Paddles.

Whenever someone says to me "Why in the world would you want to spend all your time and money rescuing CATS for God's sake," I point to all the kind and genuinely good people who are in my life, both those who can help, and those who just touched my life while they were helping an animal in need.

Great Xmas for the cats

Alas, I have been laid low by not one but three viruses (the cold-type, not the computer-type) and am way behind on my blogging. Luckily I did manage to take photos so that I could share Christmas for cats in a belated fashion.

Jack and The Lewitt, above, one set of "bestest friends", sent a whole Christmas tree worth of presents, in addition to their support throughout the year:

Presents are always checked out by the house cats, first, and they are heartily disappointed when they only get to keep a mouse or two. More photos to come of the rescued cats enjoying their bounty!

Jelli, Phillip, and the whole House of Stout not only fed my sister and I royally on Christmas Eve, they also send support at holidays, and when I sound too sad on the Facebook or the blog. :)

The kitty colony on Hagadorn Hill sent a Christmas photo as well. Valarie and Craig are fosterers extraordinaire, and also keep my vehicles running, and keep an eye on my driveway in winter to plow it out when I am traveling so Donna and Tim can get in to care for the cats.

More friendship to come. Thank you everyone. I couldn't do this without you!