Saturday, February 28, 2015

More on Grayson --- FIV positive

I mentioned earlier than Grayson was chosen for adoption, pending his vet visit. We take all of our longer-term cats to our veterinarian for a pre-adoption check-up since we do offer as much of a guarantee as is possible that our cats are healthy, or health issues are known.

Corky and Grayson went in the same day. While waiting the 10 minutes for the combo test to run, I borrowed a comb and went at Grayson's gorgeous coat. He is a sweetheart about tolerating the fur-pulling involved and purred at the attention. I heard the beeper go off signalling that the test was done, in the other room, and then heard the veterinarian say: "What's that?" Then "Well, nothing is ever simple, is it."

Well, crap. Someone clearly had a positive test. First a kitten with one kidney, and now an FIV positive cat. I assumed it was FIV and not FeLV, because FeLV probably would have elicited a more strongly worded private reaction from the veterinarian. Sure enough, when she came in, it was to announce that Grayson was FIV positive.

FIV is not a death sentence by any means. It does mean the cat is more susceptible to illness and dental issues (Grayson has great teeth at this time). It is passed from cat to cat by bite wounds, so average contact with other cats is not much of a risk if the cats aren't fighters. It does mean the adopter needs to have the financial resources for regular vet exams, possible future dental care, and the emotional ability to accept that the cat might not live to an incredibly old age. So it's best to go into an FIV adoption with a little money in the bank and the fortitude to be vigilant.

I went ahead and had Grayson microchipped and vaccines boosted, because even if his current adoptable status changed, FIV cats often are adopted into homes that have other FIV cats (indeed, I've already had one inquiry on him from a home with an FIV cat). Our last FIV cat was here for three years. Luckily we get very few, since we handle mostly isolated rural colonies

Grayson was a grand big tom from the Fast Food Feral colony in the city of Ithaca, and was in fact stalking another male cat who I had already trapped when I first saw him. Grayson then went into a second trap I had set. He turned out to be friendly, so we kept him. It's no surprise his second test was positive.

We will have a Western blot test done when I have some extra money (it runs about $100, and probably more with the vet visit and blood draw) to be sure his regular test wasn't a false positive. Standard FIV tests can show positive for a variety of reasons.

Here is good page on FIV:

And here is the scary one from Cornell University:

Grayson is back here and is his normal sweet self. I'm keeping him with his usual bunk-mate, Fern, since they like one another but don't cuddle or co-groom, and of course he has never had access to any of the other cats, because they all get separate "liberty" time for precisely this reason.

Adoptions---still on a roll

I apparently have accidentally hit on marketing gold--although I have no clue what I have done. Two more cats were adopted-- Corky and Grayson (although more on Grayson later). Both adopters had already visited a large no-kill shelter in our general area, so I'm guessing our success may also have something to do with fewer cats available there.

Corky checks out his new digs

Update on Coyote (now Cody):
Coyote is doing fine! She is a really nice cat. She likes sleeping in the front bedroom, especially when the sun is shining through the window. She also spends time in the living room with Mom, and sometimes will sit on her lap. She loves being petted, and of course she loves her wet food!

Mom suspects that Coyote (now Cody) spends time on the kitchen table, but has only caught her once or twice. Cody has also gotten up on top of the refrigerator, so she's a curious cat. While she does hang around in the kitchen if Mom is out there,she doesn't get underfoot, so that is a very good thing. So it is all working out well! She's very good company for Mom.

Update on shy Bo and Davis:

They are doing beautifully!! I kept their names, they seem really fitting. Davis is still shy for the most part, but he does let me pet him on occasion, loves exploring the house. Bo is really affectionate, is right in my bed as soon as I wake up in the morning, trying to get me up for the day. I absolutely adore them.

And Brody's (now Luca) new home reports that "Basil and Luca are getting along great!" Looking back, I don't even see that I announced Brody's adoption here on the blog. Drat that Facebook! I keep forgetting to post things here!

I get regular notifications on Nueve (now Footnote) on Facebook, including a really cute video of her playing fetch. She's a lucky girl.

I still have to track down Octave's people to see how he is doing. So far, so good with our most recent adoptions!

More abandonment

I got a call from my neighbors across the gorge, who had adopted my barn cat Bullet (now Bandit) when he decided he liked their porch better than my barn. They saw a tiger tuxedo cat the other night. I told them I'd been seeing big tracks in my barn and put out a heated water bowl and food, and that I would set some traps.

Clearly whoever is out there knows what a door is. This greeted me when I got off the phone with her and went to do my morning chores:

Someone also posted on a Facebook page I watch, "Spencer Swap and Save" that someone had dumped a cat at her place a couple of miles from me. She posted a cute photo of a frosty little tuxedo youngster, and she said "If you abandoned this cat, you are a dick. If you lost him, he is here safe and warm" or something similar. Interestingly there were a few posts saying that cats and dogs are fine outdoors--that they "know how to find ways to stay warm"...which really surprised me in this day and age. That particular page (unlike others I've seen) is pretty polite, so even the people who called the original poster "harsh" for suggesting the cat was abandoned were doing so in a fairly polite way. Normally I keep my mouth closed on sites like that (although I've been known to rant on Craigslist) but I did speak up at that point about the many reports of cats frozen to the ice that are appearing on animal welfare Facebook pages. Then I thanked the page for being a great local resource (which it is) since I had taken it off-topic.

Here is the nearby abandoned cat if anyone local has lost him. He is not here, although I did offer to take him if the SPCAs are full.

The temps are supposed to rise a bit so I'll be setting traps this weekend for my visitor.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

What it is to be a TNR change agent

Note: This post was edited about an hour after originally being posted.
Note: I'm sure no one would ever guess I was once a copyeditor. Wow...the typos! Sorry...more edits.

I've joined a couple of Facebook groups on TNR. This is something I've tried to avoid doing because then my Facebook feed has even more cat stuff on it. However as we gear up to be something more than a one-person hit-or-miss rescue, it is helpful to see the questions that other rescuers are asking so I can be sure our resources answer those questions. I also would be living in old cardboard box if I don't take steps to see what new things people are coming up with.

All-in-all reading the pages has been a great help. The people running them are progressive and helpful. However I was---I don't know...I'm not sure of the word---shocked? Saddened? to find there are a very few, but very vocal "I know everything, I've done this longer than you and have caught more cats than you and you are WRONG if you don't agree with me" people out there attacking other people on the page---something I had previously seen in mainstream animal welfare/rights, but not-so-much in TNR.

(We break up this holier-than-thou post with a bit of cuteness brought to you by Oliver-the-one-kidney-kitten):

I hadn't seen that attitude in TNR before, because the people I deal with--even if they have different ways of doing things--are so happy just to be able to share our concern for outdoor cats that when we talk we are saying "I've found this can work" or "Wow, I'm awful with nets, how do you manage to do that?" or "that's incredible that you keep cats in crates rather than traps--do you have any problems with them escaping?"

Now--full disclosure--most cat people, including myself, do feel they do know the best way to do things. Like cats, we tend to be convinced of our own infallibility--until we make a serious mistake.

Yet, I know from my past experience that I can be wrong, or if not wrong, I have seen someone do something in a more-successful manner and have thought "Wow, I need to try that."

I have told quite a few people the following story, but I don't think I've told it on the blog. Some you new to the story will still immediately see what is coming. Others of you will be surprised:

I've had aquarium fish for quite a bit of my life. I also worked for a biology department where I cared for a fresh and saltwater aquarium room. I'm no aquarium expert but I have the basics down. I'm very partial to goldfish, which need lots of space and lots of oxygen, and it bothers me greatly that people who don't know this keep them in tiny bowls until they die after a year or less. These fish can live for decades when cared-for correctly. It really tweaks me that they are often given away as prizes at fairs. One year I had a booth at a local fair and kids kept walking up to my booth holding big goldfish in plastic bags which they had "won"at another booth. They had not received care instructions, just a fish in a bag. I gave every kid a long lecture about how much space the fish really needed, how to age the water or treat it before putting their fish in, and that they "should not just put their fish in water out of the tap or the fish will immediately die" due to chlorine.

A few parents kind of looked at my oddly, but I was being nice, not preachy, so they just nodded their heads. Usually the kids were alone, since it was an indoor fair, and they listened with fascination. One even went back and asked for a smaller fish, because all he had at home was a gallon bowl and his current "prize" fish was at least two inches long.

It was probably a month later when I was silently ranting about this whole issue in the privacy of my brain as I cleaned my own goldfish tank and was treating my water for chlorine tap water was well water, not municipal water. There was no chlorine in my water, or in the water of any of the kids I was speaking to at that fair. There had been no chlorine in my water for over a decade and I was still treating it as if it was chlorinated

I had grown up in areas with chlorine-treated water. My last country home had a water tower that was treated with chlorine because the local wells had been contaminated many years earlier during a flood. I had managed an aquarium room in a city with chlorinated water. But I had not had chlorine in my own water at my current home for over 15 years, and I was still treating the water! I had become so entrenched in my belief that "tap water was bad" that I was not even remotely open to the concept that some tap water (while there are still other concerns about it, such as ph) was probably NOT going to kill a goldfish out here in the country. I'm sure there were lots of puzzled parents who tried to get those poor fish out of bags and into something larger that they had filled with probably-safe tap water from their untreated well, and their kids were yelling "No, Mom! The lady at the cat booth said that would kill it!!!!"

If my sudden awareness of my stupidity had not been so incredibly illuminating, I probably would have been writhing on the floor in embarrassment. I hadn't just made an error---I'd been making the same error every week for a very long time! Instead I mentally pull this memory out whenever I feel like "Whoa...that person is wrong" so that I hopefully give what I might say out loud a second thought.

I am not always right. None of us are "always right." Things that are "right" in one instance might not be "right" for another. When we start preaching to people that "you are wrong and you are so wrong you are hurting animals" we need to be pretty certain that we are correct.

And even when we are certain our way is an improvement over the way we are criticizing, we need to be sure that we are offering our input in a manner that will be likely to convince the other person that our way has merit. Telling someone they are WRONG WRONG WRONG! is going to cause them to shut down and shut you away, and look for ways to fight back and say "No, I'm RIGHT!"...not listen and think "Hmmmm...maybe I could learn something here."

Grassroot activism is always so interesting to watch. When it starts out, people with diverse beliefs but with the same end goal get along really well. Then, as the movement gets bigger, "leaders" emerge who promote "best ways" to do things. This leads to division, and the larger group breaking up into smaller groups. Some people are fine with this and are happy to see the momentum moving inevitably toward the common goal, sort of like people of different races, religions, sexual orientation etc. working together toward a goal. We may get there differently, but we all want that one thing we are all working toward.

Breaking up into different groups can also lead to infighting, however. Effort that is put into saying "our way is the best way...your way will take too long!" can take away from the effort needed to reach that wonderful end goal. Sometimes it's better to just keep moving along the way you believe and leave the door open to those are going a different way.

There are also "Change Agents." Change agents are people who push the envelope and put themselves on the line to say something new and different that others in their group believe but are afraid to say. Or the change agent may have come up with an entirely new idea that is so different they are the only one saying it and they risk themselves to say it aloud. We need change agents to move forward more quickly, or we would just slog along toward change at a very slow pace. These people risk their reputation, their jobs, and in some cases even their lives, by speaking up.

There are also agents who also step forward, but they promote change not by justifying the actual good outcome of their own work, but by calling others who disagree with them evil or wrong. They gather supporters not by being an example of their own belief and by welcoming anyone who will stop to listen to them, but by saying "You don't want to be an evil-doer, do you? Then you should do as I say, because if you don't, you are evil."

Change Agent: Thank you for stopping to really listen to what I'm saying. People who really care will stay to listen. I hope if you walk away I've given you something you might use in the future. If you disagree, that won't stop me from continuing to speak. Those of you who are staying, let's change the world! Let's do it today! People will stand in our way because they have known only one way, are blinded by their own beliefs, or are under pressure from peers. It won't always be easy, but let's go!

Egoist: It's a good thing you are stopping to listen to me, because I am right! What I am suggesting is easy! I did it, and I say it was easy! And if you walk away, you are proving that you are an evil person because you will not make this easy change! You are giving me permission to call you wrong, publicly, because you will not agree with me! All people who stand in our way do so because they are inherently bad people. Those of you who agree with me, you must shun those who walk away!

Change Agents: I've thought about this a lot. I've made mistakes along the way. What I've done, and what I've seen others do, has brought me to this place. I want to teach you what I have learned. We may make more mistakes along the way, but I strongly believe this will change the world for the better.

Egoist: I know this because all good intelligent people would know this. I've made no mistakes following my beliefs. All you have to do is XYZ and you'll be just like me. You should want to be just like me and the people who believe in me. If you question me after I've shared this with you, then you are probably not a good intelligent person.

Most of the time, a person is a little of both-it's rare for a person to keep their ego out of the mix when they are stepping forward with something they feel strongly about. The question is: which way does the balance end up tipping, over all? Toward helping others, or toward promoting myself?

Am I speaking up to help others, or am I speaking up because I like to tell everyone else how right I am?

I have done both, frequently. I use the "delete" key a lot. It's not too hard to tell the difference if you are being mindful of what is coming out of your mouth or fingers. Still, it is very difficult to remain mindful every moment of every day. Especially when something ignites your disbelief or lots of kids with goldfish in plastic bags at a fair.

The trigger may be a just one. No animal should be given away as a prize in a contest to people unprepared to take care of that living being. But we (I!) need to be sure that what we respond with is accurate and helpful.

I think we all need to tattoo a reminder of one of our mistakes on the back of our hands, to remain mindful of just what "teaching" and "helping" really mean.

Therefore, if any of you see a tattoo of a goldfish on my hand any time in the future, you'll know exactly why it's there.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Oliver filters on a single cylinder--missing a kidney!

So we've been going full-throttle on adoptions lately. I'm not sure what's up. Is it the increased presence on Facebook? Replacing the adoption fee with the option of purchasing cat furniture for your new cat adopted from us? Referrals? Coyote, Nueve, Octave, Bo & Davis have recently been adopted (or are in the process of foster-to-adopt), Adison and Seneca were TNR'd, and the "coming in" numbers for once equal the "going out" numbers.

Of course there has to be an anomaly. Nothing can go completely smoothly. This month's anomaly is named Oliver.

Oliver was on hold with a couple who weren't certain if they wanted Oliver or Octave. They went home and thought on it and decided on Oliver if all went well with his neuter. And wouldn't it figure, with a home all set for him, something unusual would happen? The veterinarian noted that one kidney was enlarged, and the other could not be felt at all. His kidney function right now seems OK (blood test) but curiosity got the best of them and they took a radiograph to confirm (no charge to us, bless them). Sure enough, he was missing a kidney on the left. Now, an ultrasound would show more, but wouldn't change the situation. That made Oliver a wild card. He could be fine and live a grand old life. However he needs to have a kidney-thoughtful diet, and a regular check of his kidney function throughout his life. He also needs to go to a home where the adopter could accept that his life could possibly be shorter than normal, so he probably shouldn't be someone's one-and-only. Luckily he loves other cats and dogs, so there is no problem with him going to a home with other pets. The couple that had been uncertain who to adopt then decided Octave would be a better option for them, and I agree. This would be their first, and only, cat. To take on a cat who will be big step up as a financial obligation and just might quickly fall ill is tough for someone choosing their very first "own pet."

So Oliver will be hanging out here in the house until the right home comes along. He is no problem at all. He is quite friendly and affectionate, but is happy going off in the other room to snooze by himself. He does have a dangerous (smile) attraction to the twitching tails of Rose and Bear. Bear tolerates being treated like a cat toy. Rose is not so pleased, but that only makes her twitch her tail more violently, which draws even greater attention from Oliver. But after a hiss, he lays low. He is a wise little boy.

FeLV or FIV would have been a worse issue than firing on a single kidney cylinder. But gosh, just when everything was going so great, it's a bummer to have a great Unknown rear its head.

Friday night "toss and organize"

I have too much crap.

Let me rephrase. I have plenty of crap that serves a purpose, but I can never find the crap I need, when I need it. For example, I bought hardware for this buffet Valarie and Craig gave me. Can I find it now that I need it? I canNOT!

Nellie is having a joyous time exploring. You can be sure I am being a good girl and not swearing. Otherwise Nellie would be off hiding, as she is the most shy cat in the house. No, I am quietly simmering at my disorganization.

I have finally gotten fed up with it and have been picking away at my worst offenses. Number one on the list: cat records. You would think after almost 30 years of this I would have it all down, but the night before an adoption will still find me digging through the most recent pile of veterinary receipts searching for a rabies certificate. Ridiculous!

Things I have! Old worn out cat laser toys. I get them when they are on sale for a dollar. Will I really ever buy batteries that cost more than a new toy? Probably not. Out they go, after divesting them of their hazardous-waste battery innards.

So as I am pawing through drawers I'm finally: &$&%@#!!! Don't paw through them! Stop and deal with them! The buffet can wait. It's going to have to, isn't it, since I can't find the hardware.

What I can find:

More Post-It pads than anyone person should have. I work in a paperless office. Off they go to the "give away" box
VHS tapes on trapping feral cats. I gave away the VHS player to a neighbor who helped carry in the free bureau. All these are now available on YouTube. Out they go!
Two three-hole punches. Two? OK, one goes upstairs to that desk, and one will stay down here.
A DYMO label maker Mark gave me that has been out of label tape for six years. I check Amazon. Yes, the tape is still for sale. I put two in my Amazon cart and continue on.
Oh look. ANOTHER three-hole punch! A cheap one. Garbage.
Many flat mailing boxes and envelopes. I organize them in one spot.
A ziplock baggie of Ivan's combed out fur that I one day plan to send out to be made into this cute remembrance. I miss Ivan. Keep.
A Netflix DVD from back before the Kindle. Slumdog Millionaire. I've never watched it. I hold it out because now I have a DVD player and a donated secondhand flat-screen TV (thanks Cary!)
A twisty digital camera stand I've never used. I guess I'll put it with the defunct digital cameras because it won't work on the iPhone. Anyone need one?

No buffet hardware.

A number of weeks ago I got totally fed up with the fact that A) my cat records were scattered all over the house and B) I did not have a comprehensive email list and the holidays were looming. I wandered into Staples to find something attractive to keep current records front and center rather than shoved in a file cabinet. I found two boxes, but darn...they were ripped. Disappointed, I started to put them both back, then figured the rip on one of them was at the back, so I would take it anyway. At the checkout I showed the rip to the clerk and he said he'd give it to me for two bucks. I said "well, for that I wish I'd picked up the second one, which is in even worse shape." He immediately ran back got it, plunked in down and said "how's a penny? Otherwise we just have to throw it out." So for $2.01 I got two nice boxes that normally would have been $18.00. I never would have thought to dicker at Staples!

That's the kind of deal I like.

I've been lusting after a PassionPlanner but can't justify the cost for something I'm not sure I will use, so I used their free download to print off ten weeks to try and keep track of what I'm up to. Rose immediately sat on it.

I also went searching for a calendar after the New Year when they are dirt cheap. I get a lot of calendars from national animal welfare organizations, but they are usually small with not-so-much space to write. When I go looking for a calendar, so I look for cats and kittens? Wildlife. No. I look for....LARGE PRINT! Yes, I am over 50. My friend (and adopter!) Gretchen got me a beautiful leather wallet, which I loaded with postage, a few cards, and a tiny pretty writing pad, to take with me when I am traveling so I won't put off thank-you notes just because I am on the road.

Hey, I found the hardware! Where was it? In the catch-all baskets by the front door. Why were they there? I have no idea. I guess I'll go organize them next!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Send two young marimbists to Belgium--give them a dream.

Put this on and go about your day. Let it play in the background.

And then if you believe in helping to grant dreams, give a donation to send them to the Universal Marimba Competition in Brussels, Belgium

Check out their GoFundMe page here

We have quite a few donors and adopters in the music community. It is in the interest of all cats to promote music across the globe.

Yes, I honestly believe this!

Oliver in the house

This is our newest kitten Oliver. He already as a hold on him. Isn't he the sweetest?

He is not shy so much as very independent. He purrs up a storm when you pick him up, but he's happy go off in the other room and snooze all alone. I'm bribing him with treats, and he's starting to suck up to me a bit more. Such a cutie!

Coyote goes out to foster-to-adopt!

More than five years Coyote has been here! Sunday she went to a new home for a trial run. Did I take photos when I delivered her? No, I forgot, as usual! Here she is at the Spencer Fall Festival a few months ago.

She did really well..she was affectionate with all of us when I dropped her off, but you could see she was blown away. Furniture? Carpets? People 24/7? I hope she relaxes and enjoys quickly, because it is a stellar home with Faith's family. She will be so loved if they are a match!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Seven and Siggy check in via Facebook!

Seven checks in from Connecticut! It looks like he's staying warm and well-fed!

Check out the tail!

Siggy checks in from Endicott. He has clearly settled in just fine (after an adventure in the basement where he decided to snooze for some hours, scaring his new guardians half to death).

Sunday, January 4, 2015

As seen on Facebook!

Owl House cats check in via Facebook!


Jelli (left)

Phillip (right):

Whitten Wu:



It's so nice to see our past cats show up every day or so!

Whiskers in Winter party next Sunday!

Each year, pretty much at the spur of the moment, I decide to throw a party. The SECOND reason is that I love you all and want to see you. The FIRST reason is that if I throw a party, I throw out things I don't need, I finish projects, and I focus on the cat rescue instead of other things that demand my attention. And then I get to enjoy it all with you!

So, next Sunday, January 11, we will be open from noon to evening's end (whenever the last person decides to leave), with comfort food, drink, friends, and of course, cats. Both the house and the cat facility will be open. If you think you will be coming, please RSVP to susan at owlhousecats dot com (spelled out to reduce spam). We already have about 12 people on the "attending" list. Guest are welcome...just let us know who they are. I hope to see some of you next Sunday!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Pitter and Patter pose with presents

Linda (Christy's sister) gave this gorgeous cat bed, which Pitter has claimed as her own.

And brother Patter shows off one of the knitted beds that georg brought from The Handmade House, which fits perfectly over the top platform of the cat tower!

They are certainly sleeping in style! Thank you!

Happy 2015 and thank-you donors!

I'd like to think Bear is saying "Happy New Year!" to you all, but more likely he is thinking "What are you doing, lady?" At least he's a good sport!

I can't thank you enough for the donations we received. We've adopted out FIVE CATS this past week and all five need pre-adoption check-ups, which even at a discount is a flurry of vet fees all at once. And I've ordered more vaccines and over-the-counter medications, and of course, as always, cat litter and food. This is just one car-load. Gone are the good old days of the truck, when I could fit 30 or more bags of litter in one load!

Hopefully all these adoptions are a sign of good things to come!! We are currently OPEN on Sundays from 11-2 (2pm arrivals may stay until the wish to leave). People still need to inquire via email and let me send them an application.

Happy New Year to you all!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Great adoption weekend

With drop-offs and legitimate cats-in-need, the ratio of feline to human here has gotten alarmingly high. While I have definitely had a greater number of cats in the past, it normally was in the summer, not winter. While I normally don't do "Coffee and Kittens" this time of year, I felt it was time to pull my head out of the sand and get to moving some cats into homes. found some homes!

Siggy will be going to Johnson City to live with Tiger Tom's family! Tiger Tom is our one and only viral cat (in an internet sense of the word).

Nueve will be going to Ithaca to live with two poets. One is a beloved professor of mine from college. They adopted two kittens from us many years ago.

And joy of joys, Bo and Davis were chosen, and will be adopted together to a home here in Spencer!

They all need healthy pet checks at the veterinarian, which unfortunately slows things down. Tomorrow Brody (a young cat from Waverly) and Robin (one of the feral kittens) are off to get neutered, so Nueve is piggy-backing on their visit for a second FeLV/FIV test and then she can go home.

I have no certification of rabies on Siggy and his caretaker is camping for Winter Break so unfortunately he will need to be re-vaccinated. Bo and Davis need a good solid exam, follow-up FeLV/FIV and rabies, since they are 2.5 years old.

The best part of all of this is that Fluffy can come into the house after sixteen years as the cat facility mascot! He should also have a veterinarian's visit. I'll probably start him out in the Great Room. I want to introduce Bear and Fluffy gently, since there will then be two "big old men" in the house. Bear did fine with Ivan, so I hope Fluffy will be accepted without a problem.

Now we need to get Pitter and Patter a home. I'm going to start shutting them in a room upstairs at night so they get used to it, and can be made more accessible when people visit. They made themselves scarce during this event.

I also managed to get video of some of the cat facility cats and hopefully can get that posted for people who wish to see it. So much to little time!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Abandoned cats

Someone has been making cryptic posts on Craigslist telling people to check out our web site. They don't say anything else. The same person (or is it two people? One anti-TNR and one pro-TNR?) has been posting all sorts of short statements against Trap/Neuter/Return, letting your cat outdoors, giving kittens away etc. I've emailed nicely in response to the anti-TNR posts and received no reply.

Unfortunately, due to this--or the fact that shelters in our area are all turning away cats (more on that later)--at least four cats have been dumped in my area: two young black cats with white on Halsey Valley, who cried at me and then took off at a dead run when I tried to help them, and an adult cat and a kitten dumped here in front of my barn who I only know exist due to their tracks:

You can see how the kitten was probably handed out of a car door and landed in the snow.

Right by the barn door. Unthinking people somehow assume the cats they abandon will just run and take shelter in the barn where they dumped them. They usually don't. They run in confusion, or they huddle down in the nearest wad of high grass.

This kitten ambled about in confusion for a bit:

And then began to trot away:

This is what the kitten was heading into:

And this is where I finally could no longer find tracks, looking back toward my barn:

I've put food in the barn, but I don't have much hope that a kitten that small (the tracks were tiny) is somehow going to turn around and retrace her steps. I'm hoping someone saw her and picked her up, although I did not see any human tracks where a car would have stopped and person had gotten out, when I lost the kitten tracks.

Somewhere some person is relieved they no longer have to worry about the cats they didn't want. Instead, now I am sitting inside in the warm, thinking of cold abandoned kittens every night as the temperature drops. I'm scanning the fields for the first two kittens, and driving the back way at night looking for eye-shine for the second one.

The adult cat may have found my barn. Or perhaps the tracks I see now belong to Bandit, the next-door cat. I'm setting some traps and we'll see who we catch.

I'm sorry to share a downer posts, but I plan to post a link on Craiglist so people can see what actually happens when cats and kittens are abandoned at farms.

This is why I never criticize people who post kittens and other pets on Craigslist. At least they aren't dumping them in the snow, as so many other people do.