Sunday, April 29, 2012

Maestro photos snitched from Facebook

More grown-up shots of Maestro.

Food fears

I realize this is not cat related, however I have more readers here than on Feral By Nature and this is important. It was also something I was unware of.

Do you know that when you go out for a Sunday buffet, and decide to splurge on that filet mignon special, what you are eating could just be cheap meat glued together...with a glue that is NOT a food.

Check this out. I know I'll never be tempted into eating steak again. I was just talking to a friend a few weeks ago about how I had given in to my memory of a really good steak, and ordered one while traveling for work, with the "justification" that I could take part back to my hotel room for Molly-the-dog. I had about two bites and put it aside, because it just didn't taste all that good. I told my friend that I likely would never order steak again. I figured I'd lost my taste for it, which was, I thought, a good thing. Now I wonder if what I had been eating at the hotel restaurant wasn't even steak. And who did eat it? My poor little mutt back in the hotel room.

And did you know those "natural" Kashi-brand cereals and other products aren't so natural?

“You might be wondering where your favorite Kashi cereals have gone. It has recently come to our attention that 100% of the soy used in Kashi products is Genetically Modified, and that when the USDA tested the grains used there were found to be pesticides that are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors.”

That’s the sign posted in the cereal aisle of a Portsmouth, Rhode Island grocery store called the Green Grocer. It’s been hanging there for a few months, but earlier this week, someone snapped a photo and posted it to online—and then it went viral.

Let’s back up for a minute. John Wood, who owns the store, actually removed the Kashi products from his store back in February, after reading a 2011 report from a group called the Cornucopia Institute, an advocacy group that supports organic farmers. The report states that only four of Kashi’s 24 cereal products are actually certified organic and that Kellogg, the umbrella company that owns Kashi, “purchases genetically engineered ingredients for its ‘natural’ Kashi products,” including chemically processed soy.

When Wood got wind of this, he pulled most of the Kashi products from his shelves and posted the sign. Photos of the sign were posted online this week—and now people are pissed. (ed: at Kashi/Kelloggs)

Here is Kashi's response.

And then there is the wonder store Whole Foods. Someone finally looked at their labels and noted that some of their packaged organic vegetables come from China. With China's poor track record of food oversight...really? Organic vegetables from China in one of the supposed highest tier food stores in the United States? What's up with that?

Here is the response from Whole Foods.

Now I realize trusting the media is a lot like trusting food marketers. Just as food marketers are trying to sell food and make a profit, the media sells stories.


Looking in my cupboard, I wonder how many foods I buy that I think are healthy, and that I might in fact be paying more for, specifically to eat better, that are in fact poisoning me (us).

I have been struggling over what to feed my cats so I'm not killing them with melamine and low-grade pesticide-aided corn and other grains. (I don't even want to think about the so-called meat in there, and the animal suffering involved in obtaining it). Now it appears that I need to have the same fears about what I eat...not just when I knowingly purchase junk food, but even when I try to purchase food that is supposed to be "good for me."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Seven cats, one night

I'm finishing up the Lisle farm colony. There appears to be just a few tom cat stragglers, that will require setting a bunch of traps all weekend, letting out the cats who have already been altered, until the stragglers are all captured.

I went by Tuesday night to return a cute little orange tom and the Mom Cat, bearer of many beautiful litters of kittens. Well, she will bear no more, and hopefully she can concentrate on enjoying the sun and hunting mousies in the field.

However, as the farmer was coming out to greet me, she was being followed by a little black cat I had not yet trapped, who was limping badly. I was sure I had not altered the black cat; the farmer was sure I had. I had her scoop the little guy up and stuff him in one of the vacated crates from the cats I had just released. I reached in and copped a feel. Testicles. My memory was correct (a few of the cats had missed being eartipped by the clinic they are going to). I figured I would have the veterinarian take a peek at his paw while he was getting altered, and maybe keep him an extra few weeks for cage rest. No biggee.

Then the farmer mentioned one of the house cats, Billie, had been hit by a car almost two weeks ago. This was a pet cat she had gotten altered herself last year. I went in the house, and Billie was carrying one paw (there appears to be some nerve damage, but he can move the leg back and forth, and he does use it when running). However, he had a broken lower canine that was cutting his upper lip. The farmer could not afford the many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars she knew she would pay at the vet, so she had given him antibiotics and let him be. He probably could have limped by this way permanently, but the tooth definitely had to go. So we chased poor Billie around until we could get him in a crate, too.

Two cats coming, two cats going. So much for empty cages.

At this point, I really wanted some human contact, but it was nearly nine pm, and in this area, the world shuts down at 9 on a Tuesday night. Worse yet, all the places that closed at 9 looked happy and warm inside with people who were finishing up their meals, mocking me with what I had missed out on. So I headed home. As I drove down 17C I noticed the neon sign at the small wine store was blinking "Open." Huh. I stopped, and the owner and clerk were breaking down boxes. They had forgotten the light was on. The owner smiled at the clerk. "She's too short to reach it," he said as he let me in. "Go ahead and buy." It wasn't the wine so much as human conversation I needed. I bought a bottle of NYS white, laughed with them for a bit, and headed home.

But then, on Halsey Valley Road, I saw eyes on the left and slowed down. One of the nearby farmer's cats, I figured.

Then the cat launched herself into the road, straight in front of my car. I yelled "NO" and hit the brakes, but I felt the *thump* as I hit her. I immediately pulled over into the dirt entry to the dry gas well, grabbed my flashlight, and jumped out.

There was no cat in the road. DAMN! I would have preferred a dead cat to a missing injured cat. Some readers may find that heartless, but I knew how hard I had hit that cat, and she didn't escape that without serious injury.

Suddenly I heard "MEOW! MEOW! MEOW!" and thought I had found my victim. The cry was coming up by my ear, though? I shown my flashlight around, and there, only an arm's reach away by my face, was a small calico longhaired kitten, perched on top of a fence post, squalling her heart out.

She wasn't near where I had hit the cat, and she seemed much smaller than the cat I hit. I knew how a kitten ran, and I hadn't hit a kitten.

Where there was one kitten and a mom cat, there were more kittens. I scooped this trembling little kitten up and put her in my jacket. She didn't stop yelling, which I figured was a good thing. Maybe her siblings would answer. It was clear what I had here wasn't just a farm cat. It was a mother cat and kittens abandoned at the dry gas well where it was easy for someone to pull off. No one would question an idling car here. Everyone stopped here because it was the last place into the valley where you could catch a cell signal. People sat here all the time.

I realized suddenly I had no crates. They were all full of injured barn cats.

As I swung my flashlight, I caught a little movement down the road toward the dry well. I walked down and looked into the grass, and saw two little faces staring back at me. Two kittens were burrowed down tight into the grass, not moving an inch.

Well, crap! What was I going to put them in? I went back in the car and poked around. I knew better than to let them loose in the car. I'd end up with kittens up in the dashboard. Finally I pulled out an empty Friskies bag. I figured the crackling would scare the kittens, but they were terrified into stillness. I put my little friend in first, and then went back to the kittens. They let me scruff them and pull them from the grass, and lower them into the bag.

I looked and looked with the flashlight, but didn't see any more kittens. I dumped a can of tuna out on a paper plate and left it where I had found them. I took one last walk up and down the road, hoping to find the cat I hit. No dice.

Once I was home, I cleaned cages and set the new cats and kittens up. Terrified eyes stared at me all around. What a sad sight. I had taken two cats home, and came back with five!

The next morning I got up and went back out into the frost and sun. The tuna was missing from the plate, and another set of eyes and a tiny nose gleamed from the grass. This kitten was burrowed down as far as she could get, trying to stay warm all night on her own. I pulled her out and crated her, then carefully pressed down on all of the old grass, not wanting to leave anyone behind.

Eight curious heifers came over to see what I was doing. They followed me all up and down the fence line on the gas road, and then all up and down the paved road as I looked again for the cat.

No one stopped to ask me how I was the night before. No one stopped today. Ten years ago, three or four people would have stopped.

No one stops any more.

(This is not true, of course. Last summer I stopped when I notice a pulled-over car with a man fallen on the shoulder. Another woman stopped at the same time I did. An older couple had been changing drivers when the man fell. He just needed help getting up. The woman and I each got an elbow and lifted him up. We exchanged long looks when we all parted. You could see that "Thank God it wasn't a heart attack because I don't know if I remember my CPR" look in both our glances, I'm sure. I always wish I'd asked that woman's name. I'm sure we could have been friends).

The kittens and Billie have a veterinarian's appointment Friday. The black cat will go to the clinic next week. I may be transferring the kittens to another shelter. At the moment, one shelter has no kittens at all, and needs kittens to keep people visiting (to hopefully fall in love with an adult!) but that could change by next week when these little girls are ready to go. I have two inquiries via a rant I left on Craigslist (more on that later) however if another shelter will take on the spay/neuter of these little girls, that would be a huge help to me. There will be plenty more kittens later this year when the shelters are totally full.

A big "thank you" to my friends on Facebook who expressed support when I ranted there after getting the cats all set up in cages.

So spring begins.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I finally have all of the screen secured on the front porch, so today was the Big Day. I opened the front door....and left it open.

Senior cat Cricket immediately found something to climb on. Nellie, my shy girl, was more hesitant.

Bear, who is the only indoor/outdoor cat, preferred to stay inside while the others explored the screened porch.

Ivan was out as well, but his photos all came out fuzzy.

After awhile, as I got darker, I noticed I was all alone except for Molly.

They were all back in the house, asleep on the couch.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thank goodness for humans, because computers drive me crazy

I spend most of my day with my laptop for work. I use a variety of tools that need to be opened up (in a certain order, so it's easy to find them when I switch back and forth throughout the day. In my personal life I'm also on the computer, managing my Petfinder account, blogging, answering email, etc. I've chosen my tools for my personal life based on ease of use. Sadly, Blogger, which use to be like a great big friendly dog who wanted only to lead you home, has been turned by Google into a perfectly uninspiring virtual room. I made the mistake of clicking on "upgrade" and now I'm in a blogging editor with teeny tiny icons instead of Bloggers great big friendly buttons. I tried to experiment with changing my template, and the template examples are now weenie little thumbnails (wth?). Google has also decided that both of my Blogger blogs MUST be linked to a gmail account. The Owl House was already linked to my Wildrun gmail account, but Google decided to link Feral By Nature to an obscure gmail account I opened for special event. If I have my Wildrun gmail account open, and log in blogger to work on Feral By Nature, if I go back to gmail, either it logs me into the unused gmail account, or when I go back to my blog, I'm in The Owl House, and my post for Feral By Nature is destroyed (because it doesn't know where to save). Humph. So if you wonder why I have not been blogging, it is because Google has taken something that was once very enjoyable to me, and turned it into one more thing that makes my life just a little more of a pain in the ass. BUT on a better note, it is spring, and with spring come People. No one ventures out here after the Christmas rush (except Christy!). People would come out if I would invite them, but mostly I'm gearing up for spring work travel (all done!).However people do come in the spring--in fact, boatloads of them are showing up this weekend. So I will be thumping the Google demon into submission in order to post again. I'll be looking at other blogging options. Maybe Google will come up with something to make their meddling worth it, or I'll go get glasses, one or the other. Whine, whine, whine. To rouse myself up out of my morning annoyance, I have posted a photo of Jack and the Leewit that Mary sent earlier this winter. Now it's out to the cat facility to visit cats and clean!

Post note: where the hell are the paragraph breaks? PLEASE don't tell me I have to use html now to have breaks in my text?

I do. I freaking have to use html now. Google, what the heck are you thinking?