Friday, July 11, 2014

Andy Griffith has died

Andy Griffith has died. He could teach us all a thing or two. Mostly, how to smile (Keep watching. Yes, he's in there).

Veggies and flowers

I'd hoped to have a garden this year, but the deer whipped me. Next year I'll just have to get solar electric fence on top of the garden fence to keep them out. I'll work on the beds this year.

I mixed a few veggie in with my flowers this year. Cherry tomatoes, kale, zucchini and swiss chard.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tyco (formerly Tristan) checks in!

Here's Tyco's baby shot. And here he is on his first day in his new home with his new housemate "Kitty."

Here he is now, eight years later!

Julie writes:

Attached are some recent pictures of Tyco (aka Tristan). He turned eight years old in April and is still as crazy as he was as a kitten!

Whenever he does something stupid, his older brother, Kitty just stares at him--I can only imagine what's going through his head.

Tyco loves pretty much anything and everyone... except the vacuum cleaner. Whenever we take it out of the closet, he runs through the cat door to the basement and hides on the other side. I think he's convinced it's going to suck him up.

In any case, he provides comic relief on an almost-daily basis! :)

Went "home" again, and "home" was gone.

Back in 2008 I posted this about my very first home in Greene NY.

I went to visit Mom today in Norwich and on my way home I stopped by the old house again, but....

It was gone.

All gone.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act Passes!

Yes, it actually has been illegal for veterinarians to carry controlled substances outside of their offices to treat, anesthetize or euthanize pets and farm animals at their homes or farms all of this time. I'm very glad to see this weight taken off the shoulders of veterinarians.

(Post-note, this also assists mobile spay/neuter clinics!)

U.S. House of Representatives Passes Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act

(July 8, 2014) – The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, which would allow veterinarians to transport controlled substances outside their registered locations to provide mobile veterinary services and house calls. The bill was sponsored by the only two veterinarians in Congress, Reps. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., and Ted Yoho, R-Fla. Barry Kellogg, VMD, senior veterinary advisor of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association issued the following statement:

“We commend our federal representatives for taking such a major step in making sure animals get the care they need regardless of location. In 2009, the Drug Enforcement Administration deemed it illegal to transport controlled substances beyond a registered location, making it problematic for veterinarians to care for animals on farms, in the field, or at a client’s home. If this legislation is enacted, veterinarians will be able to provide mobile spay/neuter clinics, on-site care on rural ranches, disaster response and at-home euthanasia without fear of being in violation of the law.”


Media Contact: Cheylin Parker, 301-258-1505,

The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association was formed as a home for veterinary professionals who want to join together to speak out for animals, engage in direct care programs for animals in need, and educate the public and others in the profession about animal welfare issues. The HSVMA is an affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Just because...Elvis without the rock and roll

OK, I'll be nice. Here's what it actually should sound like (there is a moment of silence at the beginning. Hang in there):

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Buffalo kittens dance for us

The Buffalo kittens that Nancy is fostering came to stay at The Owl House for two days, while Nancy helped out her parents. This gave me the opportunity to take adoption photos of them to get posted on Petfinder and anywhere else I can think of. The little black one is female and the tiger is male. The tiger has more photos because black cats are darned hard to get photos of!

And here's a little video for some added cute factor:

The B

Friday, July 4, 2014

Share, share, share...FIREWORKS

Share...not necessarily this post, but anything you see on Facebook about fireworks.

I work side jobs to feed the cats. During the summer, I flip veggie/meat burgers, clear tables, wash dishes, etc. for summer parties, so the hosts can actually interact with their guests. Some of these take place around the 4th of July. Last year I experienced the panicked yelling of a neighbor whose dog bolted when partying people set off large fireworks, as many people do around the lake. Clearly these neighbors were settled in to enjoy the show themselves. They were not "anti-fireworks." Their dog was hanging out with them on their deck. Suddenly, after the first major BOOM, I hear and see, from across a gorge, the neighbor calling and chasing after their unrestrained dog, who was bolting away from the lake, toward the rural highway. I could not get across the gorge to help catch the dog, but I could get to the person setting off the fireworks show, to see if they would delay setting off any more fireworks until the dog was restrained.

That fireworks person was confused by my request. They did not own dogs. They did not understand that a "dog running away" was a huge issue, that could result in weeks or months of anguish, and even people in danger if the dog ran onto the road in front of a car, or was hit and bit a person who was trying to help him. The fireworks were not postponed.

We can criticize all we want, but we need to expect that people who don't have pets, or aren't involved in animal welfare, don't understand the larger issue of lost and panicked pets during fireworks. We can "share" on Facebook all we want, but there will still be folks whose dogs could care less about fireworks (like my Molly) or who have no pets, who don't know that July 4 is day when most pets are lost. If they are not "connected" with other pet folks on Facebook, they will never know.

Nonetheless, Facebook and other social media options are all we have. So please share, share, share, any information you have about fireworks and pets. Maybe one person will bring their dog or cat indoors during this most explosive holiday, and one pet's life will be saved.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Jack and The Leewit check in!

Apparently Leewit loves lawn care (however as an indoor cat, except for some excursions in an enclosed area, she can only dream):

Jack has dreams too, of travel to far-off places:

Jack and The Leewit are the namesakes of the J. Leewit Fund, which is our spay/neuter fund. Their family has been a huge supporter of The Owl House and have funded medical care for countless cats over the years. It's the inspiration of people like their "mom" Mary, and a handful of other steadfast friends of The Owl House, that a fellow rescuer in Waverly, Debra, and I finally sat down just over a week ago to discuss the inevitable charity status I've stalled over.

After all, who can resist those faces? It's time to get moving.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Memory Garden

I've mentioned in the past that we have a Memory Garden here. It is a small cemetery where feral cat folks can have a cat laid to rest if they don't have a place of their own. Last week a cat from one of our first feral colonies fell very ill, and he now has his place here in the Garden. His story will come later. But I wanted to post some photos of the place to share with his caretakers. The wood chair with no seat with the orange pot sunk into the ground (for a future plant) is his resting spot. He was lucky in that he had two houses that looked after him.

It's always a challenge to keep the Garden looking nice as weeds always threaten to overrun it. This year I have (mostly) kept on top of it and hope to continue to push back the jungle so that by the end of the summer it has been expanded. The ground here is pretty soft--it's probably the only place on the property that is. It is a very peaceful spot, very close to the house.

I've recently begun looking for old discarded chairs for the garden, to keep statuary and flowers above the ground where they won't get lost in the foliage. I think also non-catish visitor will ask about them, and then I can explain what the Memory Garden is.

Kibble for humans

Just a non-cat-related tip for oatmeal-eaters like myself. When friend/adopter Gretchen was visiting a while back, she mentioned using maple syrup in her morning oatmeal. I had been eating the packaged stuff, knowing it wasn't all that good for me. After some trial and error, and way too much impatience to deal with cooking non-quick oats, I came up with the following "recipe" which has served me well:

Non-mushy, way-fast oatmeal

1/3 to 1/2 cup quick oats
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
Maple syrup to taste (I use about two teaspoons).

Boil water in a kettle on the stove. Add to bowl with oats/flax/syrup. You will want more water than you would think you would. Stir
Pop in microwave for 15 seconds (no more). Stir and eat.

The flax seed keeps the oatmeal from turning into mush, in addition to being good for you.

Options: brown sugar instead of maple syrup (or no sweetener if you are into that), sliced almonds, etc.

I used to add a tiny bit of salt, but quite frankly I forgot it once, couldn't tell the difference, and never bothered adding it again.

Good stuff! You'll need to experiment with the water. Feel free to add your own oatmeal tips in the comments!

The Big Book of Cats - The paper in my life

I am going through paper.

My categories are three:

Paper to discard
Paper with valuable info I need to transfer electronically (adopter email addresses, etc.)
More paper to bring into my life (501c3 tax-exempt application!)

I forced myself into the position of dealing with my piles of paper by selling my upstairs lateral file cabinet (as I continue to make the upstairs suitable to rent) and replacing it with a few wicker file boxes downstairs. Everything I need must ultimately fit there, or in my fire safe.

One thing I found in my purge was my Big Book of Cats. I blew the dust off and brought it out to look at while I wrote thank-you notes to donors.

The Big Book contains the handwritten records for the cats and kittens we adopted out from 2001 (The Kitten Summer from Hell) to 2003. Yes, that's a pretty big book for just two years. (Cue "Memories" music here).

All of those cats are seniors now. Some have passed on. However I hope to get all of the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses (many of which have no doubt changed) into a database. My aims are two: to reconnect where possible, and to track the work we've done over the years.

As I go through the book, I'll post some stories here. Maybe I'll have photos.

We are accepting food donations again

Last year we had a huge food donation via Dr. Karen Dashfield at Antler Ridge Wildlife Sanctuary, which we also shared with other cat caregivers. It has, sadly, run out. Therefore we are accepting food donations once again. Food, electricity, and veterinary bills are our largest expenses. It has been nice to have one of those out of the equation for almost a year,'s BAAAAACK! Kitties must eat!

We will take anything brought to us, as we can always use it to feed street cats, however all cats, whether still on the street, benefit from higher-quality food. If you are in a regular grocery store, Purina One is the best option there, especially in big bags.

Food for indoor cats, urinary diet, and sensitive stomach diets, are all appreciated. Please do not purchase dental diet or hairball formula diet that may have very large pieces, as some of our cats are running a bit low on teeth and can't chew them, although they are fine with normal-to-small sized dry food.

A few cats come our way with food allergies, so grain-free or "no wheat/corn/soy" is also helpful for when we isolate cats who are having digestive issues, to see if an allergy is part of the problem.

Canned food is always welcome, and any name-brand type is acceptable, as we have particular cats who prefer different types. We have one senior cat, Storm, who prefers only wet food.

With the increase in wet-food feeding, we can always use paper plates, both large and small.

We have more than enough pet beds at this time, as well as cat furniture.

We can always use towels, so they we can rotate some of our shabbier ones out.

Tea and rhubarb cobbler are available for anyone who wants to visit! We can also pick up in Owego and Ithaca. Our online wishlist is here.

Have a glorious weekend. For once, it's not raining (at least at the moment.)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Oh Ithaca...

This is so sad for all involved. A life. Injured. Homes lost. A cornerstone of the city." Many are the days Lori and I sat outside doing off-site adoptions. Little Kubota was adopted and lived in the grayish building just to the left. And yet, you stand there and you know, someday, at the base of a massive hill, tragedy will someday strike again. You just know it.

Buffalo kitties won't you come out tonight...

If you adopt a cat from The Owl House, if you find yourself in a kitten-bind or a cat-bind, chances are good we'll help you out. You've got some good karma going for you.

This little tiger and a little black sibling are coming our way, via a friend of Nancy. Nancy adopted Gizmo from us and has often fostered. I probably can find half a dozen posts that are about her in this blog and the old one. Two kittens in Buffalo need help, and the shelters aren't able to take them. My sister played with the Buffalo Philharmonic this past year, so we might say that symphony gave me the soft spot that is allowing me to take these two in.

So Nancy will be picking these little kits up this weekend to foster, and then they'll be coming here.

Fingers crossed that they are OK. They look a wee bit dehydrated to me, but Nancy is passing on advice until they get to her.

Their mom was found dead and they were all alone. Thank goodness they were rescued.

(Just in case you are too young to get the musical reference in the post title...)

Sleepy kittens

Monday, June 9, 2014

Spending money to make things look pretty -- NOT!


Some of us have a love affair with the stuff. And it costs M-O-N-E-Y

I have a personal joke that you can tell how much disposable income I have by how wide the mulch path is to my front door. If there are tufts of grass sticking through, I'm broke. If it's wide and inviting, I've got cash. I don't have a sidewalk, and the line to my front door is actually a grassy driveway. You used to have to trailblaze to the front door and with a house on a hill, that could be a real ankle-twister. But my then-husband Mark decided the front steps should go (which used to be between the two blazing porch lights in the photo below), and side steps should be built instead to keep people from breaking their necks. He had a good eye. Still there was no sidewalk, so we went with mulch. Later, I added solar LED lights, in case someone needed to find the door in the middle of the night. Quite frankly, the place is lit up like a runway at night.

All the better for me to shoot interlopers by (just kidding...maybe).

Well, this spring I've been paying off NYSEG (electric and gas) from the winter, and mulch is not on the list of things I'm going to invest in. Needless to say, when I saw this I went into a happy dance:

I'd been watching that pile dumped by the utility company for a long while, wondering if it was OK to take any. Apparently we are all law-abiding folks here, because no one touched it until the sign went up weeks after the pile kept growing and growing. And then the entire town pulled out their trailers and pickup trucks and started shoveling. I was the only person I noted with a car, and it was a friendly time at the ole mulch pile. The Kitty Kia is always up to the task and people always smile when a woman backs her car over obstacles to do what any truck can do. I love my town and I love my car (when it runs).

There were two huge utility trucks still filled with chips, ready to be dumped, and plenty left in the original pile before the rain started pouring down, so I'm hoping I'll have an unlimited supply for the memorial garden and to lay in a backup pile for other projects. In the meantime, things are looking nicer around here, just for the cost of sweat and gas. Mulch normally goes for 6.00 a bag locally, or 3 for $10 at the big box places, so this free pile could save me a lot of cat food, or a spay or two. Because, as you know, for cat folks all expenses are measured in food or spays.

Unfortunately I got a little close to the Welcome mat at the cat facility door with my lawn tractor and bit a section off. Oops.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Missing Pet Partnership, and Cheeto the "bait kitty"

In my personal opinion, The Missing Pet Partnership is paws down the best resource on finding lost cats. ( I found the web site first--I'm sure it was recommended to me by someone else--but since then, I've also had the privilege of seeing Kat (yes, her name is Kat) present at different conferences. If you do only one thing with this blog post, bookmark The Missing Pet Partnership page to have it at hand to send to friends when needed. It's easy to just post the URL in a comment on Facebook (or private message it) when you see a post that someone has lost a pet. Even strangers have been appreciative of me when I've sent it to them, because it is so helpful, and so well written.

What I did not think about was how search dogs would be taught to find cats...and the cat that might be involved in that training. You'll like this clip about Kat...and Cheeto.

Hmmm... go to (cut/paste) to proceed. Apparently the video isn't showing as embedded on this blog any longer.

Fixed for the moment! Let's hope it works for you!