28 November, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving...and Welcome!

Happy Thanksgiving!
May you enjoy the holiday with friends and family, and that your day is filled with laughter as well as good eats!

And introducing...Shadow!  She is about one year old, and has a few patches where she was shaved for her spay operation.  She is playful, human-loving, and weighs about 4 lbs.  She is in a safe room right now, while resident cats Angel and Chuck get used to sharing their home that they've had to themselves for over nine years.  I know Shadow is okay with other cats, because I saw her snuggling with three, and playing with others, but our primary concern is to not blow the minds of Chuck and Angel.  We have even covered the glass doors into Shadow's safe room, because of this:
Chuck sits outside and whines...ahem, meows...because he wants to visit with the new cat.  Angel, on the other hand, appears fearful and we are lavishing love and play on all three to ease the situation.  (FYI, we are considering changing little Shadow's name, but I've tried dozens of names on her and she does not respond to any of them, not even Shadow!  We may have to pick one, and just go with it...any suggestions?)

So for now, I have THREE cat families to care for: Shadow in Room 1, Angel and Chuck inside, and the 'O' cats outside.  Mama Mia, Patty O. and Sammy all have thick coats, and appear to being doing fine while the temps drop.  I replace their water twice a day (or more), or simply break the ice off the top if it's thin.  We sprinkle a bit of sugar in their water, under the scientific theory that ice crystals won't form as quickly.  Wet food will freeze too, and they've toppled a bowl or two off the deck as they try to lick out the hard bits.  But they still come a'runnin' when they hear me in the yard, and the chorus of meows and dancing to get some petting warms my heart.

Sad note:  My heartfelt condolences to William, who's little bother Russell crossed over the Rainbow Bridge recently, so soon after Gracie.  Am thinking of you, William, your sis Caroline and your mom today. 

24 November, 2013

Update: Cat Rescued on the 408

On 10/27, I posted about a real humanitarian who saved a cat he found on a busy Florida highway.  He rescued the frightened cat, brought her to a veterinarian for a check up, then took the cat home.  Through friends,  a couple adopted the kitty, and here's what they have to say:

My husband and I are Cleo's new mommy and daddy.  We just couldn't believe someone could be so mean to a helpless and precious creature.  So, we decided that she needed a fresh start all the way around and gave her a new name too.  Sliver (a play on her silver coloring and skinny tail) is fitting in quite well at her new home.  Her new brother and 2 sisters are still a little unsure about her, but she is settling right in.  She's even exploring more of the house and screened patio.

Glad to hear this sweet kitty has found her forever home!  Hurray to the hero who risked everything to get her off that highway, and hurray to the couple who opened their hearts and home to Sliver.  Now if we could only exact some legal punishment on the woman who originally owned the cat, since it's time people knew that cruelty to animals is WRONG.  Thanks again to PM; hope it's nice and toasty in FLA!

18 November, 2013

A New Stranger!

Who is this tiny vision of cat loveliness?
And how did she get inside the house?
More news soon; not much time to blog while I take care of THREE cat families!

13 November, 2013

November Cold

It's been very cold here in Michigan the past few days.  We even had a bit of snow, although not as much as in the old image above.  However, our three outside cats have been on my mind a lot because of the lower temperatures.  Yes, we have four-count' em-four insulated shelters on the deck, and we've even hooked up an outdoor-rated electric warming pad in the biggest one...although when I last checked, no cat had visited that one.  Each shelter has straw, and the three made from styrofoam coolers are lining completely with silvery duct wrap, which reflects their body heat.  But that doesn't lighten my concern about them.  They are just little cats, outside in the blustery cold.  If I go out there, my fingers start going numb and I shiver.  So, I project my own feelings of vulnerability onto them...and I worry.  Yet each morning, noon and night, they come running up to me, meowing and dancing for food and petting, and they eat and appear to be okay.

Sometimes, I feel as if I'm a poor hostess, allowing my 'guests' to sleep out in the barn, so to speak.  In my thoughts, I wish I could simply throw my door open and let them in.  When I first encountered each one of these cats, they would not come near me, and we did not know where they lived, after they consumed the food and water I set out.  They only started using our shelters (and I kept building more) last year.  AND that's when they began to let me pet them.  If they were still so wild and feral-like, I probably wouldn't worry so.  But they look and act just like house cats now...like Angel and Chuck.  And I think that somewhere in their lives, they once had humans of their own, otherwise I wouldn't been able to touch them.

But, I don't know if their bodies harbor anything dangerous to Angel and Chuck.  To get them to a veterinarian would mean trapping, because although I can pet and snuggle a bit, there isn't a chance I could pick any of them up to put them in a carrier.  They really ARE NOT house cats.  So, I bite my lip and turn away from them every night, and try to send healthful, protective thoughts to surround those shelters that house my very dear little friends as the cold winds blow.

12 November, 2013

Angel and Cobwebs

Angel in the sunshine
Angel loves to eat cobwebs.  She sniffs out every corner, every nook or cranny, and she eats the cobwebs.  Hey, I'm no Suzy Homemaker, but I broom and vacuum and dust regularly.  Yet she finds little cat-candy-floss once in awhile, and she takes care of them.  Even outside, I've seen her munch on spiderwebs on the front porch, and most definitely she enjoys the catio (cat patio) upstairs because the webs are many since we humans don't go there much.

Sometimes there are little bits stuck in her whiskers, but it's when the house is quiet and I'm laying in bed...and I hear the tell-tale sound of lip-smacking in a far corner.  That's the sound of Angel finding herself a treat, and she goes for it!  

Now, Chuck has no desire to eat cobwebs, and since the two of them have spent pretty much every day together since birth...kind of interesting why she has this habit and he does not.  Then again, Chuck carries hats around the house, in his mouth, to deposit them near his humans.  But Angel isn't a hat cat; she likes cobwebs.  

I have not asked the veterinarian if there is a problem with cats ingesting cobwebs; wonder if she would laugh me out of her office!  I'll have to work it into the conversation when I take everyone in for a check-up; I'm already on record for being her first client who has used an animal chiropractor.  Hey, cobweb therapy may soon be all the rage!  And you heard it hear first.

10 November, 2013


Hobo is an alley-cat, who appeared in our back yard in 2008.  I put out a cardboard box and some food, and he would show up from time to time.  We could never get too close to him, but he became a regular visitor.  Began to see him everyday; he would usually always arrive via the alley.  When we watched him escort a pregnant Mama Mia up to the deck, we realized that we had a responsibility to these cats.  I had just discovered TNR (trap, neuter, return), and had purchased a lovely humane trap that is almost silent (instead of the metal ones that clank when tripped).  I borrowed a few more traps from neighbors, and we tried trapping Hobo, Mama, and her two kittens.  Managed to snag Hobo and Honey; Mama wouldn't go near the things, and Sneakers walked in and out without getting caught.  So, both boys went to get neutered, and surprisingly, both kept showing up after for food.  We caught Mama later using the drop trap, and Sneakers disappeared with Honey one day and we have not seen them again.

Things changed when Sammy arrived.  Hobo didn't seem to care much for Sammy, and he showed up less and less.  I trapped Sammy in May, 2010, but he remained rather territorial and aggressive for the entire Summer.  He simply ran Hobo off of his turf!  I was anxious and very concerned about where my friend had gone, and started nosing around the neighborhood trying to find him.  Mind you, walking up and down the alley looks rather peculiar, but I kept a photo of Hobo in my pocket in case anyone challenged me.  One day, at the opposite end of the block, a man mentioned that he sees Hobo every day, and feeds him too!  I told him my story, and the man was sure we were talking about the same cat.  I felt great relief that Hobo had found a way to survive without me, but I still felt a bit heart-sick that I didn't see him daily.  Within a few months, I managed to find Hobo lying on the front porch of a house a block away.  I was elated!  Hobo, however, was not comfortable with me trying to get close.  So I wouldn't be called a trespasser, I backed away, and vowed to find Hobo another day.  I joyously announced that I Had Found Hobo! when I got home that day.  And I have found him, every few months.  I walk down the alley and peek into the man's backyard, and find Hobo in the sun.  Wish he'd come back down the block to visit our yard again, and maybe one day he will.  Sammy is such a gentle boy now; I can pet him and he gives me a welcoming 'arf', which is what his meow sounds like.

By the way, neither of Mama Mia's kittens looked the slightest bit like Hobo, although I watched him baby sit them many times while she rested in another part of the yard.  And everyday I learn more about TNR, including the fact that it can be months for male cat's testosterone levels to deplete; it doesn't happen immediately after neutering.

06 November, 2013

Ghostly Cat

Sammy and Patty with tipped ears
Think of how this looked in the dark

 Now that my so-called wild feral cats allow me to pet them, I often spend time just sitting on the back deck snuggling with them, or watching them eat their kibble-n-canned mush.  Due to the change from Daylight Savings Time, I sit in the dark. Recently, while cooing and petting my three furry-four-footed friends, a quick glance over my shoulder and what is that!?  Another cat, sitting quietly on the deck edge.  In the evening light, the cat looked white or light grey.  After a second of panic at spying a ghostly image, I called to the cat and offered some kibble.  "C'mon, kitty kitty kitty!"  "Have some kibble, baby!"  No movement.  Curious, but cautious so as to not scare the critter away, I slowly rolled on my hip and stretched out a hand.  Still no movement.  Hmm!  After a few more moments, I screwed up my courage and crept closer...then closer still.  I finally put out a mittened hand...and touched concrete.  A garden statue!

My heart still racing because I thought I was in the presence of a ghost cat, I walk back inside and demand to know why hubby had placed a statue out there without telling me.  He declares his innocence, saying he had no idea what I was talking about.  Hrmph!  Next morning, I check out the offending item in the daylight, and it's obviously been in someone's garden for a long time, and there are chips and nicks plus a bit of green.  I am thinking...who?  Why?  Whaa???

Mystery solved the next day when a kindly neighbor emailed with details on why she thought I should have her cat statue, since she only has dogs now.  She knows I'm a cat lady, and since no one answered our door (doorbell doesn't work and I was gone all day anyhow), she just set it on the deck and walked away.

I have been on the look-out for a garden statue for awhile, but everything seemed too schmaltzy, or too pretty.  I wanted something with character.  And this little gift has a notched ear, which looks just like the ear-tipped ferals of mine.  I love it!  

Silly: yes.  A work of art: sorta.  A perfect, shabby-chic decoration for the yard: priceless!  A moment of fright for me, but a wonderful gift that stands exactly where it was placed.

(Reprint from a previous email that I sent to friends and family last year)

03 November, 2013

Fall Back

Feed Me!
Am I the only person who dislikes this day?  Sure, supposedly everyone gets an extra hour when the clocks are changed from Daylight Savings Time.  But not for someone who feeds cats!  Cat LOVE a regular schedule, and mine want their breakfast and dinner at exactly the same time...every single day.  Day in and day out; same time.  Not today!  They think breakfast should be served one hour EARLIER than the clocks, and dinner too.  Who can deny them?  AND...I have two cat families to feed.  I could hear five little cat stomachs rumble with hunger pains for every minute I tried to wait, to get them aligned with my 'new' schedule.  Why do we still have the old Daylight Savings anyhow?  Isn't it antiquated?  Didn't it have something to do with farmers and their kids?  Why does the whole country have to change for some old idea?  I'm sure that if the First Family actually fed their own pets, then the old time switcheroo would be history in a New York minute.  I'll bet not a single Washington politician takes care of their own house animals, otherwise they'd be pushing through repeals or amendments or whatever they needed to fix this thing too.  That's what those crazy politicians need: more cat lovers!  THEN maybe they would get something done.