Saturday, March 30, 2013

More feral cat spay/neuter

I've been catching cats in Ithaca, trying to clean up the Fast Food Ferals and one business across the highway where a man asked for help. The SPCA of Tompkins County is spay/neutering them for free, which is a huge huge help. It's been awhile since I've had the mental energy to trap (which is a bit odd since this is my busiest travel season for work as well). Maybe the B12 supplements are finally kicking in!

So far two cats have been friendly-acting and were not returned (two less cats outdoors!). There is no reason for a friendly or "wanna-be-friendly" cat to go back on the streets, even with food or shelter. "Gray and White" (her street name) became "Janice" at the SPCA of TC, and she found a home there last week! The man I'm helping on Rt 13 said the SPCA even called him to let him know she had found a home, and that the adopters had told them Janice would be "treated like a queen." What a change from life living under a shed.

Here's a not-so-great photo of Janice rolling around in her crate on the way to the SPCA of TC's adoption center after she stayed with me to recover from her spay:

I am once again way behind on posts. I have some photos of adopted cats who have checked in that I have not yet posted!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Back from traveling...for now

I'm back from a short marathon of travel to the Texas Unites for Animals and Animal Welfare Federation of New Jersey conferences. I had a quick day in between to frantically clean, and now I'm hideously behind on a myriad of duties, but I'll catch up! While I was at AWFNJ, a keynote speaker was Patrick McDonnell of the Mutts comic strip and he is a great friend to animal sheltering and rescue. I picked up two books, one of which I had signed for Debra, who keeps Molly while I travel, and one of which I'm keeping for a future giveaway or auction item (after I read it, of course!)

It was pretty cold, so a conference on the Jersey Shore wasn't all it could have been. On the up side, no one was tempted to walk on the beach instead of going to the excellent workshops. I did go out briefly with friends when word spread that there was a lot of sea glass on the beach. And they were right...I found a few pieces.

More later. There are cats to trap and email to answer!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I love my job...

...when we find stuff like this. And no, Petfinder didn't make it. Other people believe in adoption, and they create this stuff. Incredible and wonderful. I know it's a bit surprising at the start, but hang in there for the end.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Michigan certifies animal rescues

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, March 4, 2013

Michigan First to Certify Animal Rescues to Save More Lives

Foster-based animal rescue groups are implementing best practices and abiding by a code of ethics

CONTACT: Deborah Schutt, Chair, Michigan Pet Fund Alliance 877-FUR-PALS (387-7857)

Detroit – The Michigan Pet Fund Alliance opened enrollment for the Michigan Rescue Certification Program (MRCP) on Monday, March 1, 2013. Foster-based animal rescue groups that are not yet certified for 2013 are asked to submit an online application between March 1 and April 30. The application link, program description and documents are available online at

MRCP is the state’s first voluntary certification program for rescues and is open to all companion-animal rescue groups, including dogs, cats and small companion mammals. The program was developed by a task force of representatives from local rescue groups, animal shelter and adoption centers and animal advocacy organizations, including Paws for Life Rescue, N.B.S. Animal Rescue, PapAdopters & Placement Service, Humane Society of Huron Valley and Puppy Mill Awareness of SE Michigan. Input and feedback was gathered from a large number of rescue organizations, shelters and advocates across Michigan.

“Each year, more than 100,000 homeless cats and dogs in Michigan are killed in shelters. The majority of these companion animals are healthy or treatable and could be rehomed if organizations worked together,” said Deborah Schutt, chairperson of Michigan Pet Fund Alliance.
The initial program launch was held at the 2012 Michigan No-Kill Conference in Lansing, where Michigan rescue groups and shelters learned and shared animal care standards related to healthy environments, nutrition, exercise, socialization, daily health checks, transport, behavioral rehabilitation and medical protocols.

Eleven rescue organizations have been certified so far.

“The intent of the program is to share best practices, improve shelter capacity and ensure that the rescue organization is reputable," said Courtney Protz-Sanders, executive director and founder of Paws for Life Rescue.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development is responsible for the oversight of 188 licensed animal shelters, which does not include the 200+ animal rescue organizations currently operating in the state.

“New rescue organizations like mine, with a passion for finding caring homes for the animals in our foster homes, are often left to recreate the wheel or learn the ropes through trial-and-error experience,” said Jaime Wolfe, co-founder of N.B.S. Animal Rescue, which through this program is now a 5-star certified rescue.

“This program helps implement safe and proven medical protocols that rescues may not be familiar with, such as pediatric spay/neuter. If we don’t want to be a part of the problem, we must be vigilant in guaranteeing that all pets are sterilized,” said Mary C. Rupley, DVM, senior consultant.

Certified rescues are asked to operate according to a code of ethics. These ethics dictate transparency, honesty, respect and operations that further the goal of highlighting reputable rescue groups.

“We are striving to develop more relationships between the rescue community and the shelter community, so that all healthy and treatable animals can be saved,” said Ellen Stuban, co-founder of PapAdopters & Placement Service. “Some rescues groups have signed waivers stating they will migrate away from relationships with breeders, stop attending auctions and no longer transport animals into Michigan, and instead will focus on pulling animals from local shelters in our state,” said Pam Sordyl, founder of Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan.
Rescue organizations apply for certification annually and when it is granted, they are provided documentation that can be displayed on websites, in printed materials and at adoption events.
“The simple task of promptly returning phone calls and answering e-mails are all components of a well-run organization,” said Kelly Schwartz, director of facilities and volunteer programs at Humane Society of Huron Valley.

As the program becomes more established, it will provide added benefits to certified rescue organizations, such as grants, educational opportunities, specialized behavior training for volunteers, fundraising opportunities and cost reductions through joint purchases and ventures.
It is the intent of the Michigan Rescue Certification Program to:

• Leverage best practices and collaborations to eliminate the 90,000+ deaths of homeless healthy and treatable cats and dogs in Michigan

• Provide a code of ethics and best practices for rescue organizations

• Assure the public, including adoption event hosts, businesses, donors, adopters and potential volunteers, that certified rescue organizations operate according to the standards set by the Best Practices Handbook and the Michigan Certified Rescue Organization Code of Ethics

• Assure donors and animal welfare funders of professional capacity

• Improve collaborations and partnerships by assuring shelters and other rescues that certified rescue organizations operate to standards that are reputable and have been vetted for partnerships

The Michigan Pet Fund Alliance a 501 (c)3 charitable organization, works to end the killing of healthy and treatable homeless cats and dogs in Michigan by collaborating with animal shelters and rescue organizations to achieve No Kill through training, technical assistance, education and advocacy.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Hard times for Wildrun/Owl House cats

It's been a tough week for Wildrun/Owl House adopters. Two families have reported in via Facebook that their cats, adopted from us, are ill or have passed on. Sweet Pooh is suffering from congestive heart failure. He was born in a trap while his mother was waiting to be spayed at a feral cat spay/neuter clinic. And Lori's cat Ophelia passed over today with the help of a veterinarian due to complications from diabetes. They were both refugees from the Kitten Summers from Hell (let's not even go there now) and they were very lucky. In both cases, other kittens in their litters did not make it. In both cases, even though their lives were short (8-9 years) they have wonderful, loving homes.

On the home front, Storm, sister to my sister's cat Sylvester, is very ill. She is rapidly losing weight (cancer, kidney failure?), still is drinking and eating, but sits up periodically after eating or drinking for a little while, and seems uncomfortable in a crouch (cancer?). She is flat-footing a bit (diabetes?) in her hind legs while still having plenty of strength to leap. However, this has all occurred within three days after bringing new cats into the facility (upper respiratory?) and she has a rapidly drying crust in the corner of her eyes. So I've got her on antibiotics and we are waiting for lab results as blood was taken right before the local veterinary clinic closed on Friday. The fact this she is both eating and drinking both heartens and worries me.

Daily love and mental stimulation is vital for a cat. My sister's cat Sylvester is glossy, shiny, and sweet. Stormy, his sister, has always been a bit dull looking even though her fur and body type is exactly like his. She is beautiful, but you can't help but see the difference between a cat in a loving home (Sylvester), and a cat in a "sanctuary" (Storm). When my ex-husband and I were pre-honeymooning in California, we stopped at a cat rescue, and mentally I swore that I would never have a place that was full of such sad and dull-furred looking cats, no matter how safe and well-fed they were. Yet now I have four that look just like that. Luckily, there are only four. Others, like Tiger Tom, have escaped that fate. Look at him now.

Storm has always has some serious attitude except during thunderstorms, when she wants to be comforted and held. Today, I picked her up and held her (no thunderstorm) and she purred and purred. I'm not sure that is a good sign.

The barn is drab and dusty, no matter how clean I keep it. You can put down vinyl floors, paint the walls pretty colors, and give them soft clean beds, but it still isn't a home. It may have windows, but it's no place for a cat to be for so many years. We have people who visit here, but not every day. They see me when I clean twice a day, and I cuddle and comb them, but that is literally for mere minutes. In the house with my pet cats, Ivan and the others sleep next to me for hours, get toys thrown, wander about the house, etc. That is one reason I dream of the straw-bale building by the gorge, with an outside enclosed area. It would be more pleasant for the cats, and more pleasant for people to visit...making it, again, more pleasant for the cats.

It occurs to me...

That my mother and sisters may not have seen this, and that Linda would likely be very impressed by the video editing to match the music (smile). And who can resist a kitten?

Thinking of building a straw-bale cat facility

My electric bills are scary. I just worked out a budget payment with NYSEG. To NYSEG's credit, even though they like to include the not-yet-due amount in the alarming "YOU ARE BEHIND" mailings, they have catch-up program for people like me, and they did discretely ask questions to see if I qualified for state assistance (I do not. Understandably, there is no program for people who make a relatively good salary but insist on living in huge houses and rescuing lots of cats)

I finally went back to my original firewood business to purchase wood, even though it means hauling the wood up the hill to my house from the driveway, because he has a dump truck. However, he arrived with more-than-a-cord for my $200, and it's dry, small, burnable wood, not the huge rotted stuff that the previous guy was supplying (before he decided to drop trees in the road and take a neighbor's tree--but we won't go any farther on that).

At any rate, we stood in the driveway talking about fuel costs. He suggested propane for the current cat facility, and I lamented that I one day wanted to build a more economical space. He pointed out the back of my driveway. I mentioned there was already a slab there and his eyes got wide and said that cut a lot of money off a project. "Even just a garage, insulated, would be better."

That's something to think about, and so I did. I noodled around looking at pre-fab small barns, but I had already done that route at my old house, and I know unless you sink a lot of money into them, they really aren't cozy.

Then I accidentally came across a straw-bale construction page and saw this:

No, I don't want that fancy cottage. But I loved the idea of something small, attractive, and with a built in bench on the window side (just more bales!). It would likely be affordable, and I might even be able to schedule a barn-raising to get this done. I would need the framing, windows (easy enough to score off craiglist), the roof trusses (or someone skilled enough to build them), good quality very-dry straw bales (straw isn't cheap, but it's cheaper than wood and insulation), wire, and stucco. I could have it set up to be heated with propane, and could run electric underground right from the house. I could also build little straw bale elevated cat shelters on the back for the farm cats (big enough to set traps in!).

What a nice little dream. It would likely even increase the value of this place, if built correctly. This year I think I'll concentrate on clearing off and saving the concrete pad, and moving the brush back. It's right on the gorge, so would be a very pretty spot with the brush gone.

Spencer Community Showcase tomorrow (Sunday!)

We've been attending this event for Spencer-area businesses and programs for years. Billee was one of our first ambassador cats before she was adopted. It so hard to realize she has passed on. I always take one of our older cats with me, and this year it will be Tommy.

I will have a bunch of stuff available--some of which was donated to us to raise funds, like my mother-and-sister-made catnip toys, as well as those Jiffy Tags I mentioned on the blog earlier. I think I even have some catnip in antique bottles left. I plan to grow another major crop of catnip this year, so I need to clear the shelves!

There are always some really nice crafts at this fair. My purse (which I need to replace, so I will be shopping, too!) came from this fair about 5 years ago, along with a little barn wood house that lights up from Flywest Prims. I've donated a cat bed pack to the fair to raffle off, and I will also have one to raffle off from my table. So there will be lots of "stuff!" Last year--when I didn't have a table--they even had an organic farmer with organic meat.

Have you been putting off having your cholesterol checked? They are doing that, too. If someone comes by to watch my booth for a second, I plan to run over because mine hasn't been checked in over 8 years.

So come on by! It only takes a little while to pass through. You could do lunch at Reese's or DaVinci's, or try some of the food they are having at the fair itself.