Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Nueve (Now Footnote) checking in!

I nabbed this photo of Footnote (who was "Nueve" here at The Owl House, rescued by Debra), from Facebook. She's all grown up!

Kitten shot!

Monday, June 13, 2016


We have a new kitty here. Basil was supposed to be a quick visitor. From a feral colony in Waverly, he was supposed to just get a neuter, shots, worming, and flea/earmite treatment, and head home.

Unfortunately he had a half-healing injury so off to the veterinarian he went:

He seems to enjoy being petted, although he doesn't look for it. When I put his wet food in front of him in the cage, he immediately eats it. Most feral cats will wait until the threat (me) is gone--or at least has moved across the room--before eating. Because he has to stay here until that wound is entirely healed, I went ahead and had him FeLV/FIV tested (negative!) in case he tames up while he is visiting. While it's likely he doesn't have an owner given that he's at least two years old and unneutered, we'll report him as found to Stray Haven, and perhaps he'll find a new home where he doesn't have to worry about fight wounds in the future.

Robin gets a home!

After almost a year and a half, sweet Robin has come out of his shell and has found a home. All three of the kittens from under a mobile home nearby grew up very shy. Gremlin (the tiger) will probably remain here in my house as a pet, as he has high matting fur and is quite shy (but loves other cats so give Oliver someone to play with). Valentine, the white cat, also has coat issues, but I'm working on her because, since she is so beautiful, she is highly adoptable if only she would permit more combing.

Robin has always been the most brave of the three, and doesn't it figure he loves combing? And doesn't really need it? With his rakish tilted ear, his new guardian fell in love with his photo on-line and waited months while I was traveling and she was moving to a new apartment, to adopt him.

I dropped him off yesterday and I'm sure they thought I was a crazy person. As with most old apartments, there were corners in a closet where the sheetrock did not meet with a large gap behind, where a determined cat could rip and tear. I taped those over "just in case." Robin isn't a rip-and-tear-type cat, but then he's never been in a rip-and-tear situation before. They also have a knee-wall door that has no latch, so we pushed a heavy object in front of it and they promised to arrange for a latch, since Robin could enter the house walls there. They were surprisingly tolerant of my paranoia. It's just went cats are far away, it's hard for me to help when problems occur. And they have occurred in the past.

Surprisingly, while Robin was quite scared, he was still very interested in treats. Normally a shy cat just wants to be left alone when relocated to a strange place, but he still loved his crunchies. Late last night (his first night in his new home) I got a text with Robin playing with a feather toy!

While his "safe room" had the tiny wall gaps I mentioned, the rest the apartment is secure, small, and quite cute. I think he's going to be a happy cat!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Clark Kent, Tuxie and "Waverly On the Hill"

A couple of months ago, Debra caught a cat that was doing OK on the street, but deserved something better. A big black feral tom, he had a twisted back leg that he sometimes used, and sometimes held up. He was holding his own, but clearly needed help. She caught him and brought him to The Owl House, and he was neutered at the SPCA of TC. The veterinarian there said he had an old break in his hind leg that was fused.

Clark is actually fairly friendly. He likes being scritched on his forehead and under his chin, and he meows for his wet food. But he will hiss and smack when only mildly startled, and he won't allow himself to be picked up.

In the old days, an injured non-social cat like Clark would have been put down without a thought, and in those old days, rightly so, since outdoor cats in many circumstances didn't get the care they do now. Clarke came back here for cage rest, to get weight on, get fleas and mites off, and see if his leg needed any more healing time. He was in a big two-level cage so he could stretch and move around.

Clark was supposed to go back to his original site, but Debra was concerned that there was too much cat competition at that particular location for a gimpy cat. So she decided to relocate Clark to a relative's house in the country, which had a couple of cats already that seemed to get along very well. There was a big garage to get out of the weather, and the cats were fed and watched over daily. So Clark and the two-level cage went off to the hills of Waverly, so he could be soft-released.

A soft-release (in wildlife rehab terms) means holding an animal in a cage right in their new habitat for a number of weeks, and then quietly leaving the door open so they can leave on their own terms, and even come back to the cage to eat and drink if they wish. Relocation of cats is never the best first-resort, since only about 60% of them "stick" at their new home. Luckily Clark was one of the 60%, probably because he had so much human contact at his original location.

Debra bought him a comfy bed, and he enjoys cuddling up in it on one of the garage shelves when he isn't exploring his new deck and lawn.

However there were a couple of cats at that location that weren't yet sterilized as well! So Debra set some traps and brought little Tuxie to the Owl House. She was spayed at the SPCA of Tompkins County and stayed with me for a couple of weeks before returning home entirely healed.

There is still one male left to get sterilized, but oddly enough, even though he is still a tom, he is getting along with Clark.

I can't thank to SPCA of TC enough for the spay/neuter spots. While they have to do their own residents, and other shelters with a great need than the Owl House, first, they do try to fit us in whenever possible. It's a haul to get over there and back twice a day, but with gas prices as cheap as they are, it would be absurd to complain. If I take three cats to the SPCA, I save almost $150 to $200 dollars even when the SPCA charges me their full price. When they have discounted spots, or if I am helping a person on state assistance, it can even be free or just a buck. I don't know for certain until I pick the cat up, so I come with money in hand, but it's nice to get a free "fix" and be able to stop by the store on the way home for more canned and dry food with the money saved, or be able to call up another person and say "catch that cat, we've got money!"

Now the summer has hit and there will be more kittens and pregnant moms, there will be fewer female spots available. But wow, what a huge help over the winter!

Another seriously belated "thanks!" A cozy cat house for Buster

Sharyn in New Hampshire notice my posts about Buster, the feral who showed up this winter, and my concerns about keeping him warm. She had a heated kitty house, which she shipped off to us.

The house cats were intrigued:

By this time, Buster had broken into the basement. When I first discovered he was sneaking in a gap near the oil-intake pipe, I was quite proud of my initiative in immediately repairing it:

That didn't last long. Buster was not to be denied:

So the little heated house went into the basement (which was convenient because there are outlets down there, and it could stay dry) and Buster had a cozy and protected winter. Other than the day a fox decided to check things out:

I guess I scared the fox enough (and she scared me!) that she didn't come back after that one visit. Now the bowls are up on a table.

If I can't get Buster convinced to move indoors, this microchip activated cat door will be next (and pricey) step. I'll need the more expensive one (the "dual scan") because apparently the cheaper one can be pulled open by little raccoon fingers. I have just been lucky so far that a short-legged little skunk hasn't tumbled down into the basement rather than a long-legged fox who can leap back out.

Thank you, Sharyn, for the house!!! It's a wonderful little thing and it kept me from having nightmares that he was shivering down there all winter. With the gap in the window where he went in and out, it wasn't exactly warm down there.

Buster wants "in"...but on his own terms

This was a cute moment this morning. I had moved the garbage can I keep kindling in around while trimming near the house and Buster-the-feral discovered he could request breakfast in person now. My bed is right next to the bow window, and I woke to an unfamiliar meow.

How sweet!

This was not so sweet. In fact, this ripped screen in the front room nearly gave me a heart attack as I frantically counted cats. Luckily they had all gathered for breakfast so it only took a moment to discover everyone was accounted for:

I can only guess that one of the cats was inside sitting on the cat window seat I have there, and Buster leaped up from the ground and the screen disintegrated under his claws as he fell back to the ground. My indoor cats apparently respect screens enough that they did not think to test this new gap.

I've been meaning to replace the nylon screens with aluminum one by one, but it was low on the financial priority list. Upstairs I have a second aluminum screen in each of the three windows that are open for double protection. I guess I'll need to pick up a few for the downstairs windows as well. Right now, they are closed, because I worry Buster will have a "go" at the other window as well.

I'd like to curse the material but, let's face it. These windows and the screen are probably 25 to 30 years old. With the sun beating on them in the summer evenings, it's no wonder they are weak.

So, disaster averted by merest luck!

I'd love to have Buster come inside nights, but he won't come near the door, and I can't leave it open. I may try shutting the other cats up in the great room when I feed them breakfast and start coaxing Buster closer and closer to the open front door with his morning wet food.

Saturday, June 11, 2016