Sunday, May 31, 2015

June 7 (Sunday!) work party. Eat, drink, paint, weed, pet kittens!

Need an excuse to get out next weekend? Come on by the Owl House for an hour or all afternoon to eat, drink, paint, weed the Memory Garden, make prayer flags in memory or in honor of a special person or pet, or make a memory stake (bring some flowers if you wish) for your pet, to stay in the memory garden (stakes provided).

In spring, the Memory Garden always gets a bit outside of my control when I travel for work. And every few years the cat facility needs to be painted, to cover up any "buggies" that might have lodged in the wood paneling. I bleach the facility three times before it is painted, but the new paint livens it up (especially that low ceiling!) and covers up anything that might have been missed.

Come on by! Please do RSVP as alcohol will be on-site, so this is not a party that is open to the public. If you have a friend you wish to bring along, no problem...just let us know at or leave a comment here. You can RSVP right up to that day.

Gifts are NOT expected (hard-working hands are enough for painting, weeding, and playing with kittens), but for those of you who insist on bringing things, we always need paper towels, large or small paper plates, and turkey baby food. Used towels (not new!) are also always appreciated. New towels get snagged easily by cats. Towels only survive cats if they have been washed a hundred times.

We also really need a new sprayer (for bleaching walls every few weeks) and a (POST NOTE! WE HAVE AN ARMOIRE THANK YOU!) small used or new armoire for our new coffee-maker and water dispenser for visitors. Used is fine. It just need to have doors, be tall enough for people to make coffee, but not be over 74" tall.

But seriously, just your presence and friendship makes it all worth it, and gives us the jolt of goodness in our hearts that keeps us going all summer long!

Camden comes inside

Here's Camden, who was rescued from the streets of Waverly by Debra and Rose, where he has been existing for over a half-year. He is FeLV/FIV tested, vaccinated, neutered, and will soon be posted for adoption once he is microchipped and we get a good photo of him.

His rescue was made possible via the GoFundMe gifts made here! Thank you!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Spring cleaning...getting Porch cats up-to-date

It's spring and TNR work is rolling along. Debra is tackling "clean-up" in a colony in Waverly that has had some new arrivals. Cats on-site who were sterilized in previous years also need their rabies boosters. It's usually not necessary to target cats who just need boosters. Usually they are captured accidentally while the new cats are targeted. Those residents can then take a quick trip to the veterinarian and hopefully the experience will make them wary enough to stay out of the traps for the next few months or years, until another booster is due three more years down the line.

Debra has mentioned this Waverly spot to me for years and I finally got to visit. And wow, these cats have it good. They have outdoor shelters, and also have a cat/dog door into the house for those who are brave enough to venture in. The home also has a big waggy Rottweiler who loves cats, and seemed to like me as well.

I'm sure upon arrival people would think "what the heck is that interesting structure? Turns out it's a cat shelter made out of the windows the resident replaced in her home:

The cats also have shelters under the porch. Do these look familiar at all? Debra took them over when they were no longer needed at the extinct Lockwood colony:

Under porch far away

Debra set traps and caught two cats:

Camden, a medium-furred black cat who has been around some years. It turned out he was already neutered, so he was FeLV/FIV tested, vaccinated, and Debra had him groomed. She is going to keep him inside and I'll go scan him. Since he turned out friendly, we'll see about finding him a new home if we can't find his previous home after all this time.

Butters, a cat who had been caught in previous years and is taming up. He got an FeLV/FIV test (in case he was an option for rehoming or keeping inside 100%) and updated vaccinations. Here's Butters inside after being returned after his vet visit:

Cost for care, $128 at ACS.

It's important to make sure all new cats get sterilized as soon as possible, and whenever possible, that resident cats get updated vaccinations, since cats who just "show up" in our lives, deserve just as much quality care and those we choose for ourselves.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

One quarter of the way there...thank you!

Hey (wow!) we are over one-quarter of the way to our $2000 goal on our GoFundMe campaign Thank you! I've made a neuter appointment for Gremlin at Cornerstone. Debra has made two appointments for Monday and has traps set for cats in Waverly. Scruffy has more lime-sulfer dip for his ringworm (video to come) and the VanEtten kittens, who tested positive for coccidiosis, have KMR for extra liquid to hold off dehydration from diarrhea, and Albon (Rx). Receipts below, and receipts for spay/neuter will be posted as they occur.

Christine, who donated to the campaign, named a little female kitten "Coraline," which is a beautiful name, and one we have not had before:

"Apollo Torty" named this little girl "Blue":

And I named this little kitten "Rambler" for Valarie's donation:

Thank you to everyone who has donated, and please share with others, so we can reach our spring goal and not have lots of requests for help hanging on until summer, which would mean...more kittens! If you are on Facebook you can go to this link and share. If you have adopted a cat from us, please mention that to your Friends when you post! Thank you!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Our first fundraiser

Up until now we have always relied on our limited personal funds and the self-initiated goodwill of adopters and readers to help spay/neuter cats. Yesterday Debra arrange for a PO Box for our new future 501c3. Next step: state incorporation (drafted), then the EIN, bank account, and 501c3.

However, the cats and kittens aren't waiting. So for the first time I've created a GoFundMe page to try and help EVERY person who has called us so far. Usually someone gets pushed off because we just don't have the funds. So here we go!

Assuming that we will need $3000 for our work up until the end of June (Spring 2015) and that we will be contributing $1000 of personal funds for veterinary care, I've asked for $2000. It has been up a hour and we have $150. Meeting this first goal would be a huge shot of confidence for us--not to mention a lifesaver for 20 or more cats--as we move toward launching a spay/neuter fund for outdoor cats in Spencer, Van Etten, and Waverly. If you have the resources...even $5, please consider donating. If you do not, please continue visiting for updates. We can see the stats on readers here, and even just those stats give us a sense of not being alone! Thank you!

Kitten update --- the bland diet

The kittens are cute, but their litter box is not. They've been treated for roundworms and coccidia, and while the smell is reduced, they still have very loose stools. So until I can get a stool sample off to the veterinarian, I'm going to feed them chicken. I hate purchasing factory-farmed chicken, but hopefully this will be the only purchase I'll need to make to get them back on track. Once its thoroughly cooked it will be chopped up into kitten-sized mouthfuls. They are also on KMR to be sure they get all the extra nutrition they need.

Here are the little purr-monsters

Wish them well and happy stomachs soon!

Why people give up senior cats

I ran across an excellent post here about a person who took in a senior cat who was surrendered to a shelter. As someone who has posted similar heartfelt almost-a-rant posts in the past (most notably on Craigslist right after I've had to stop on snowy roads for abandoned kittens), I felt almost as if I could have written it.

However, one thing I do try to remember about owner surrenders is that "moving to a place that doesn't allow cats" is one of the most common reasons given for surrendering a pet. And in discussions with women's advocates and with women who have surrendered pets to shelters in the past, I've learned that "moved" sometimes means:

"My husband/boyfriend/partner threatened to dump her out in the country if I didn't 'get rid' of her"

"My husband/boyfriend/partner kicks and hits her, and I'd rather give her this slim chance at a home then have her be killed or injured"

"She has been peeing on things/acting sick/has bad teeth and I called the vet and learned it would cost of $1000 for them even to look at her, due to tests, etc. I'm at risk of losing my home/have kids who are going without, and I don't know what to do."

These are things that people are often afraid or embarrassed to say. So they lie. This does not forgive the act, but I have talked with so many people who have told me their "when I was young and had this cat" stories (years later, when they are brave enough to say) that I know the "reason for surrender" at a shelter sometimes does not tell the whole story. And the whole story can be heartbreaking.

We can argue that victims of domestic abuse need to get out of the relationship, or that "if you can't afford a pet you should not get one," but we know this is easier said than done.

Yes, there are people who view pets as disposable. I once adopted a kitten to a young woman who called me six months later because she was "moving to a nicer apartment and could not keep her." As I think back, I realize when I picked the cat up, her mother was there "helping her move." It only occurs to me now that perhaps that young woman was moving back with her parents for one reason or another (dropped out of college? pregnant? broke?) and mom had said "No cat if you come home." Certainly I've lived on ramen noodles and hid my car in the driveways of other people to prevent it from being repossessed when I was a newly graduated college student. I also had the luxury of having a veterinarian I used to work for who would look at my three cats for free, and a food pantry from the shelter where I worked where I could get cat food. Things might have been different under worse circumstances.

Once when I was young I was was spending the summer somewhere with my cat Rastus. While I was sitting on the porch, I heard a person who was also living in the house yell at my cat and throw him physically down a set of stairs. I was rocked to the core. I was able to take my cat away immediately, but only because he could go back to Norwich to the animal hospital where he had previously been the hospital cat. What would I have done if I didn't have that option?

Lucy and Heidi came from a home where the resident was "moving." When I got there, I learned the resident had taken in three feral kittens that were running around the trailer park, then discovered how much it would cost to get three cats sterilized (over $1000 with vaccinations and two visits, which some veterinarian's require). He had the male shut in a crate and the two females loose, to try to prevent pregnancy. It's hard to say to a stranger "I simply don't have the money." And as for "he shouldn't get a pet if he can't afford one" ---what would have happened to those three kittens if he had just left them to starve? To my knowledge, the resident is still at that same location. When I spoke to him last, he was looking for a roommate to help with expenses, or a cheaper place to live. The real reason for surrendering the cats was to prevent them from getting pregnant when he discovered he couldn't manage it himself.

We tell people "if you can't keep your cat, don't abandon her--take her to a shelter." Then when they do, we have a tendency to condemn them as thoughtless.

Just a thought.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

And here we go...

The flood begins. Last year I was able to keep my head down a bit, but this year we have lots of kittens "on deck" (calls from people who have "kittens around" who finally call to say "can you take them?") These four (stinky! Coccidia?) kittens were coaxed into a rabbit cage by the homeowner. Mom cat, dad, and two teenagers from last year need to be spay/neutered. The kittens will also need FeLV/FIV tests, and wow...something needs to be done about that stink! Roundworm meds didn't touch it, so we are treating for coccidia. If they don't start smelling better and having a better stool soon, I'll take a stool sample into the veterinarian to see if something else--perhaps giardia--is going on.

Here they are safe and warm:

We also received an email from a person who has an abandoned cat who has given birth in a barn nearby. A local dog boarding kennel has a cat who needs some adoption exposure (they did all the vetting themselves and have posted her as "found" far and wide).

The last night, I was driving home from a rare dinner out at a friend's house outside Van Etten, and guess what...eyeshine! A black and white tuxedo kitten was sitting by the guard rail. He wouldn't let me catch him, but he kept coming out when I stepped away, so I left some wet and dry food, and I'm just packing up this morning with a trap to see if I can get him.

Gremlin, who is one of the shy Candor kittens, still needs to be neutered. He likes to hang out by me when I work and looooves great big male cats, so would be a great companion for someone who has a "home alone" cat who needs a friend.

Scruffy, the emaciated cat I picked up right before a work trip to Austin, is doing great. He also has to be neutered. His fur is slowly growing back. He needs a better name. He's quite the talker.

And then there is Fluffy. He is deaf, due to wax plugs down in his ears that he has likely had most of his life. He can't hear when the other house cats hiss at him, and that is causing some issues with his move into the house. In order to "tell" him to back down, I have to raise my voice, with makes the hissing/scared cat think I'm yelling at her, stressing that cat even more. If I just walk up to Fluff to get between them, he doesn't hear me coming, and gets startled when I step in and runs off in alarm. So those plugs need to go via anesthesia and some careful work by the veterinarian. Normally they would be left alone at this point, but his semi-deafness is really causing some problems. Fluffy is a "personal cat" now, so he no longer rates a discount. However, he sure is happy being in the house. He owns the place!

Needless to say, there's about $1500 of vet bills waiting to happen in the place. Not a great place to be on May 2! So it's time to get a move on.

This afternoon, I'm off to Debra's in Waverly where we plan to do some more work on incorporation. Spring is officially here!