28 February, 2014

I'm stuck on you

Mama Mia seems to have a static cling problem!  The white bits are styrofoam, from the beer cooler shelter she's chosen.  Three of the four shelters are made from styrofoam, with silvery duct wrap on the inside, plus lots of straw.  Mia must be using the outside as her personal scratching post, and that's where all the bits are from.  I try to sweep them off of her (Patty O'Malley has a few too), but she doesn't like that much contact.  This photo was from last night; this morning she appeared with bits stuck to her face!  Not much I can do at this stage; can only wait for warmer temps, so if I do anything to the shelters (like try to sweep the bits out), she won't be left out in the cold if she gets scared.  I hope she's not trying to lick them off of her!
Here's a shot of Patty O'Malley has he watches me drive away.  Such a handsome boy, and he has an endearing chirp that he makes when greeting me.  Bet that rock he's sitting on absorbed some heat from the sun, and is warming his little tuckus!

25 February, 2014

Shut Up Norman Goes Home

My friend J who works with the cat rescue group Lincoln Cat Care in England told me the following story via email:

Everyone seems to have fallen in love with "Shut Up Norman" (he was under the News category I think). His foster mum says he never stops shouting about one thing or another and he drives her mad! 

Norman is now writing his own blog on the Cat Care Facebook page :). In other words foster mum G is as batty as the rest of us when it comes to moggies. I bet people will be fighting over him when he's ready for homing.

Shut Up Norman has found his home! His carer put a video up on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lincolncatcarecharity to show people how he constantly squawks and yells (so earning his name), and someone recognised him. Apparently he'd been missing for quite some time and his owners didn't think they'd ever see him again; but when a friend told them that a cat looking (and sounding) remarkably like theirs had appeared on the Cat Care site they decided they just had to go and see, just in case. And there he was - Norman was their cat Ronnie!  I gather it was quite an emotional reunion on both sides. Now Ronnie/Norman is safe home again with his family and they are over the moon at having him back.

Hurray for Ronnie!  J and the volunteers at Lincoln Cat Care raised £53,000 (over $88,000!) last year to support helping out cats in their area.  Hurray for the cats they have helped!  Keep up the good work!

22 February, 2014


Warm Angel
You can see the snow mounds out the window, but Angel availed herself of some sunshine and a heated bed.  Happiness is a warm kitty!

21 February, 2014

Er...um...Thanks Patty...?

Stuff blown into the water bucket

Was slushy now hard ice

Path from driveway

Patty negotiating icy path
For a few days we have had above freezing temperatures, and some rain.  Every path that we carved into the snow pack became slushy, then wet.  Now a cold front is blowing in, with high winds and below freezing temps.  So, my pathways are now ice rinks.

Feeling rather frisky, I grabbed the broom this evening and tried to break some ice off the edges, hoping to clear enough space so I don't slip when I go out to feed the 'o' cats.  Bang, bang, bang! as I chipped away, stabbing at the ice with the wooden handle.  I had some success, but mostly all I did was strain my back.  I fought my way up onto the deck, and lay down to rest.  The wind was blowing the tree limbs, which danced over my head.  The stars were just coming out too, and I looked up to marvel at the surprising beauty.

Then, Patty came to play.  He was delighted that I was laying down, because now I was his height.  And he walked from my feet, up my legs, then stopped with his rear-end in my face...and tail up.  Eww!  I pushed him away, and he did it again, then again.  "Great, Patty!  Thanks for...er...um...trusting me enough to put your nether regions in my face!"  He then flopped over so his back feet were braced on my head, and I reached up to pet his belly.

But the wind was cold, it was turning dark, and I needed to collect empty food bowls and get back inside.  Our moment was over, and Patty moved off in search of whatever he searches for in the dark.  Mia and Sammy had long since tucked themselves into their huts.  Fortunate for you all, that I did NOT have my camera handy!  Patty was just showing his dominance over me, by backing himself up, and positioning his body between me and the other cats.  He said "MINE!" to anyone who would bother to look.  And I'm okay with that, even if I got too much of an up close and very personal view of that boy!

17 February, 2014

Barney and Missy



I have a co-worker who's mother is a sucker for stray cats.  She takes them in, gets them to her veterinarian, and tries to find good homes for them.  When her daughter, 'J', who lived nearby opened her door one day, a black cat came walking in as if it owned the place.  Nicknamed Saber (see that one snaggley toof?), the cat made itself a member of J's household.  Saber often sat by the window, or out on the deck, and J noticed another cat around, but this one was very light tan.  The new cat was skittish, so J put out food when she could.  Then circumstances changed, and J had to move, and she already has multiple dogs and cats.  So J took Saber to Mom, and politely told the tan cat to follow, as they lived very close to Mom's house.  Tan cat listened, followed, and voila!  Saber and tan cat were given a home in the barn, with heated beds, water and food.  

Mom found that both cats were very affectionate to her, and to each other.  In fact, the two cats seemed bonded.  Mom also discovered that Saber was a spayed female, not a male at all.  So Saber became Missy, and tan cat was named for their new domicile, Barney.  Barney was an intact male.  

Months went by, and the thought of the two cats living in the barn bothered the whole family, but J was busy getting settled into her new digs, and Mom was busy assisting.  The cats were fine, but everyone knew they were indoor cats, who somehow had been left outside to fend for themselves.  Did they get turned out together, or just met up and formed a partnership?...no one knows.  

Last week, Mom found a lovely woman who was over the moon to have the two cats.  She emails Mom often to say how delighted she is to have the pair.  I don't know if Barney was neutered during his barn time; hopefully he was, or will soon be.  Another successful rescue story, and this one was for a pair.  Hurray for Mom!  Hurray for Missy and Barney, who found their way right to the people who could help them.

16 February, 2014

Happy Child-Happy Cat!

Lucky Rusty!


I had the sincere pleasure of watching a cat choose his human family today.  While visiting with the founders of Paws for the Cause Rescue this Sunday afternoon at a big box pet store in Chesterfield, Michigan, a family stopped by and said they had an appointment to visit the cats up for adoption.  A mom, dad and young boy were then introduced to the above cats in the enclosure, and the boy was just beside himself with the joy of being able to play with cats.  A funny thing happened; Rusty, who is quiet and laid-back, immediately took to this boy, and wouldn't let him go!  The boy handled the cats a bit roughly, but not harmfully, and his parents and the rescue people were there.  But Rusty jumped in that boy's arms (he put his front paws on the boy's shoulders) and no one could deny that a connection was made.  The rescue founder left the enclosure with tears in her eyes; even she was amazed by the way Rusty the cat had made his choice, and she's witnessed hundreds if not thousands of adoptions.  I saw such a look of happiness on that boy's face, and his parents seemed even a bit bewildered by how strongly they all felt connected to this one kitty.  They get to pick the cat up tomorrow, after a final health sign off by the veterinarian, and oh!  how I wish I could be there to watch.  I would probably cry, and I will always remember the excitement and joy that shone on the child's face.  Rusty was found on a cold day not long ago, so near death that everyone thought they had arrived too late.  And yet, the cat lifted his head, and clung to his rescuers.  Now he's going to a furrever home with a family who will love and care for him, ensuring he'll never be alone again.  And I got to watch it happen!

P.S. Bella and Jack are still available; Bella is a diva who may like to remain an only cat, while Jack is full of energy and loves other kitties, but no dogs please!

13 February, 2014

Disaster Averted

While feeding the 'o' cats this weekend, I managed to open the large, grey insulated shelter on the deck corner, to check if the heating pad inside was working.  To my horror, it was stone cold.  I hung my head as I realized that there had been no heat during some of the coldest nights.  I closed the shelter back up, and vowed to find a new heating pad RIGHT NOW.

I took off for Tractor Supply first, and I asked a nice woman to search the back rooms.  After a long while, she finally stepped out and said the one pad she found had been recalled due to electrical problems; she could NOT sell it to me.  Drat!  I headed out to PetSmart, and was advised by staff that they don't carry such things.  "But I saw one in another PetSmart about 10 miles away on the weekend...", I whined.  The helpful staff called that store to hold it for me, but it was long gone.  Double Drat!

When I talked to the hubby, he suggested we bring the pad inside to test it out.  So, back home again, I snuck it inside the house (to keep the curious inside cats away), and plugged it in.  I held it in my cold hands.  I waited...tick tick tick.  Hmm?  Was there some warmth?  Nope, my imagination.  Tick tick tick.  What?  Really?  Yep, for sure...it was getting warm!  Not like a human heating pad, that can almost burn your skin, but a very slow, even warmth.

Hurrah!  I am NOT the worst feral cat mama on the planet after all!  The 'o' cats have some heat, and for some reason (probably because it's mostly FRIGID here), the pad was cold when I tried it that one time.  I got the thing back outside and plugged it in, rearranging the straw and making it all nice and cozy again.  Since then, I've witnessed Sammy going in and out many times, and I'm right glad.   WHEW!

I think I'm a helicopter CAT mom.  So glad the hubby kept me from completely freaking out, too.

Happy Valentine's Day!

09 February, 2014

Warm Hands

Angel sitting on newspaper

Chuck on the shelf
Chuck started this habit, and now Angel has joined in.  Whenever the hubby is finished washing dishes...or even if he's only halfway through...the cats start meowing for him to bring his warm, moist hands over to where they are, for a petting session!  It's hilarious to watch; they jump up into their favorite box on the table, then meow loud enough for hubby to hear over the running water.  No need for dry hands; they just WANT THEM NOW!  I notice this cat-and-hands dance more over the weekend, because I'm sitting right there at the table while it happens!  Hubby is extremely good-natured about it...only good things come from cats calling for you, right?

07 February, 2014


Angel as a kitten

Chuck as a kitten

The thyroid blood tests came back for Angel and Chuck; normal.  Yippee!  Since the vet mentioned that Chuck had lost more weight between his check-up visit a month ago and the dental cleaning/immunization/blood draw on Wednesday, she mentioned he could have thyroid issues.  Since it's not, then I guess all the playing we've been doing is having an effect!  Wish I could jump and run and tackle like that; maybe I would lose some weight too!  Time to find a toy that will make Angel jump and run; this is my goal for this weekend.

I was reminiscing about the cats, when they were small kittens, and hubby and I were novice cat parents.  Now they are middle-aged (ahem, and so are we!) but in good shape.  Yippee!

05 February, 2014

Believe me, this is harder for me than it is for you

Today, we did not feed Angel and Chuck breakfast.  I marched right past them both as they meowed their displeasure, with kibble and bowls in my hands...and went outside to feed the 'o' cats.  Then, I dug my car out of the snow, and went to work.  Hubby shoveled his way to his car, warmed it up, came back inside and stuffed both cats in their carriers...and went to the veterinarian's office.  Dental cleaning, plus blood draw, plus shots.  

When I left the office in the afternoon, the storm was over, but the drifts were huge; see my ride at the top.  The vet's office was busy, so we waited for the doctor to tell me the results of the blood tests, which were normal.  However, the thyroid test is the only one done offsite, and won't be available until Friday.  Doc is concerned about Chuck's recent weight loss, .4 lbs since his check up less than a month ago.  

Then, I loaded Angel and Chuck into the car, and they sang most of the way home, but they were exhausted from not eating, not being home, not having their humans to hang with, and what was all that cold, white stuff flying around in the air?  Now, of course, the cats had a hard day, but it took a heck of a lot out of the humans too!  Hubby had to shovel, then catch, then transport...and he really doesn't feel comfortable at any doctor's office, human or cat.  And he was home all day, with no wife, no cats...alone.  That was stressful, he says!  Meanwhile, I'm had to slog my way to the office at the beginning of the snowstorm, then worry about what was happening at home (including thinking about the 'o' cats in the blowing snow), then all the rest.  I paid the bill too!  I'm pretty worn out, and seeing both cats sleeping in the room farthest from the humans right now is a bit painful.  

Their teeth had some tartar and a bit of gingivitis, but in good shape otherwise.  I'm going to soak in a hot bath for awhile, and hubby is watching a nice, relaxing basketball game on TV.  WHEW!
On a really good note, I received new photos of George, the stray/feral that P. and I trapped in 2008.  He's been living with a fantastic family that took him in and he's learned to hang out with humans and their myriad of animals.  We never knew if George was a dumped pet or a stray, but his family patiently worked with him until he's the vision of cat-love you see here.  He's polydactyl too, and as handsome as can be.
Yay George, and the T. family!  Smooches to you all!

03 February, 2014

Friendly Ferals

Mini Mia

Patty O

In between snow and sleet storms, I managed to hang out with the 'o' cats this weekend.  I marvel at how friendly they have become; even Mama Mia who hates the camera.  She often rubs against my ankles, and has a lovely purr.  Sammy has been shy a lot this Winter; preferring to hang out inside a warm shelter. And yet he hung out with me long enough to pose.  Patty O is just a nut, as he often races around in the snow, playing with sticks and leaves, and pretending to chase the squirrels. He chirps at me when I get out of the car, and he will always put himself between me and the other cats.

When the feral cats first caught our attention, we couldn't get anywhere near them.  That's why building shelters out of scrap wood and Styrofoam coolers made sense.  Now, they are my very dear friends, and this wild Winter has caused me to reevaluate the set up.  I've been shopping online for insulated shelters, and there are some spectacular cedar cat homes that have everything I would wish for...for some really hefty price tags.  I will keep looking, and may even go DIY.  I don't mind going in and out; I just want my friends to have the very best I can provide.  We are pals!

P.S. Happy February!  Are we getting closer to Spring?  Hmm, the groundhog said NO.