Sunday, September 28, 2014

Second bed...claimed by cats


It's 2 a.m. I spent the evening working on booth info, and drank waaaay too much coffee. So I'll post the new bed. I had picked up a Jenny Lind bed at a garage sale last year. I may horrify some folks by showing that I painted it gray. But there was no way I would ever sand down all those curves to be able to refinish it as natural wood. Besides, I'm no where near the only one.


Pitter has a very self-satisfied look on her face.


The mattress I bought for cheap off Craigslist is decent quality but very firm. I looked on Amazon for a topper, but they were ridiculously expensive for what they are. In reading the comments, one man said "You might as well just fold a comforter in half and put a regular mattress pad over it for the same softness!"

Hmmmm... I dragged out every extra blanket I own that is not in use, and put them under the mattress protector. And now it is PERFECT! Thank you, unknown Amazon commentor!

Now I have sleep-worthy beds in both downstairs living rooms. No more dragging of furniture, and I can sleep wherever the temperature happens to be the most comfortable at that particular time of year.

Kitten-catching advice via phone

It went something like this. My sister calls and says: "Hi Susan, it's Linda. Dave and Ruth have stray cats and kittens everywhere! Here's Dave!"

OK, it wasn't quite like that. There were probably six or seven additional sentences, but it's after midnight a day later, so my memory is a blur. I had a rapid conversation with Dave about how to catch the kittens (discovered in a cellar) and reintroduce them to the mom (who Dave had found, with a youngster who was probably from a previous litter, a few days earlier).

He did good. Mom has been reunited with all three kittens (Number Three played hard to get for a long while). Linda asked me via text "If they are around eight inches long can you guess how old they are?" My reply was something like "LOL! No!" So she texted me a photo:


I love the tape measure touch!

I told her I guessed 5-6 weeks but couldn't be sure based on the photo. Then Dave and Ruth were off to go buy kitten chow and canned food.

I'm not sure if this family unit is coming my way or not. But a least they have their mom. Kitten-care is so much easier with a mom in the picture!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

We will be at the Baker Florist Fall Festival tomorrow (Sunday!)

Everything happens at the last minute around here. If you need an excuse to get out this weekend, come visit us at the Baker Florist Fall Festival tomorrow, Sunday, from 10-4. I stopped by to buy some tiny pumpkins for my fence when I saw the balloons flying, and they had a space available.


I have zero time for this, but I MUST get these kitties adopted before snow flies!

If you are local, stop by! There are apples, pumpkins, baked goods, beautiful crafts and FREE COFFEE! It's just what you need to kick off your fall. COME TO THE FOUR CORNERS IN SPENCER NY. YOU CAN'T MISS IT!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Remember Me Thursday is today, September 25!

What can you do? When you hear a friend mention they are looking for a pet, please steer them toward a shelter or rescue.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Kitty-Kitty and Nueve, and Octave

Sooo sleepy. But I must post this cuteness. Here are Kitty-Kitty and her single kitten Nueve, in Waverly with Debra:




And here is little Octave, another singleton!


And now to bed... (12:51 am)

Winter is coming


I hate the fact that somehow summer passed me by. Here we are, counting down to winter again. Gah!

Last winter was hideous. Just hideous. This year I've decided to give up on the "dragging of furniture from one room to another" to deal with the switch from summer warmth to winter ice and then back again once spring comes. It's not like I have tons of company here that I need to be set up like a parlor with fancy furniture. Out goes one of the couches and in comes another twin bed, so each downstairs room has one.

Someone is one their way to look at the couch/chaise now. Nope--Update, it's sold! That was fast!


To take care of the cat fur before the chaise went to its new home, I used this handy Pledge Fabric Sweeper on the left in this photo:


They are pricey: over $20! But they can be emptied and they live forever as long as you don't sit on yours, so they are worth the money. I seem to recall I had a huge coupon for mine and purchased it back when they were first introduced. It's several years old and still going strong.

While moving furniture around, I discovered the cats had been at my thrift-store velvet chair! Ack! I had picked up what I thought was double-sided sticky tape strips at a conference, but they turned out to be Fresh Kitty plastic corner protectors (on the right in the photo above). They are barely visible, and I'll let you know if they work, since they also are an investment.



With the money from selling the chaise, I'll purchase another twin mattress (very carefully) on Craigslist. It won't be a good one, but whatever bed I'm not using will just be a pseudo-couch anyway.

I already picked up a second bed frame for $25 when Debra took me to visit Crooked River Co-op in Waverly, where we hope to one day have a booth (or booths) to raise money for rescue work.

The bed is a little chewed up around the edges because the actual head and foot boards are just press-board, but the room is so dim I can't even tell, now that it's set up. If I find I'm sleeping in one room more than the other, all I have to move is the good mattress from one bed to another, rather than swapping the couch and the bed back and forth.


While Debra was showing me all the wonderful antique and thrift stores in downtown Waverly, I checked off two things from my list of things I watch for.

I've been watching for this nut-grinder for over 30 years! It's just like the one my Mom has (or had--does she still have it?). Hers is a different green, but it is the niftiest little thing. When we were too little to actually bake, Mom would let us grind the nuts with this, since it was virtually impossible to hurt ourselves with it. I've been chopping nuts by hand all these years because everything else I've found has been too expensive or too ungainly. And this was only a buck! I hope seeing it makes my Mom and my sisters smile.


Now that cold weather is coming, I also drink more tea. My current teapot holds too much for just myself flying solo. If I make a half-pot it gets cold too fast. If I make a full pot I use two teabags, which is a waste. So I've been looking for a cheap but cute smaller pot. I certainly wasn't looking for cat-shaped one, but when Debra took me across the street to the The Red Door, there it was!


Rattling around thrift stores was merely secondary to the real purpose of visiting Waverly. First and foremost, to pick up my little Molly dog after I returned from work travel. Second (and cutest--sorry Molly!) to visit the new kittens and a rescued mom cat. More to come!







Sunday, September 21, 2014

Adoption Maze at Stoughton Farm

Stoughton Farm in Newark Valley has an adoption themed maze this year!


They also have openings for shelters to table and show their adoptable pets. Shall we go?

This is so great of them to make their maze with this theme! What better way to get this message to kids?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Next up: Corky!

Seven is out the door into a great home! We have ten more cats to go, and we have five, yes five kittens still on the streets that will be arriving soon.

Now it's Corky's turn. Corky has been here over a year. He was found shivering under a shed in a nearby village. Like Seven, Corky was rescued by Debra. The veterinarian who neutered him found two of his baby teeth buried in his gumline, and she felt his jaw had been broken in the past, and the teeth were absorbed in the wound. The teeth were removed, and Corky has a sweet little sneer due to the past jaw injury.

He is very friendly, comical, cute-and-handsome-at-the-same-time kitty. He is just over a year old He likes big brave friendly kitties. He picks on shy or snitty female kitties. He would be best with a great big laid-back adult male cat, or in a home by himself. He is (of course) a neutered male, FeLV/FIV negative, vaccinated, robust and healthy.


When two boxes of toys arrived (I combined them into one), he was the first cat to dive right in. The other cats allowed him to distribute the toys so there was no effort required on their part to access their new playthings (Thank you, Melissa, for the toys for the cats, and the wonderful coffee for me!)



New things are always a bright spot of the day in the cat facility, where everyday life can get to be rather ho-hum for the long-term resident kitties. Gifts for the cats are always appreciated, as they quickly live and die, either by being dissected by cats, tossed in a water bowl, or buried in a cat box just for fun. Corky will show you just how much they are appreciated:



To receive an application to adopt Corky, send us an email here! We adopt to indoor-only homes, within two hours of our area for friendly cats, and only in the immediate area for shy cats, although we have been known to make exceptions.



Corky's adoption fee is $50 (checks payable to our veterinarian for future care of rescued cats) but will be waived if you show proof of having purchased a large cat-scratching tree.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Totally not cat-related. Sweet spider-dog pranks innocents

OK, just for the record, I hate pranks on innocent people. I think they are cruel.

I also hate spiders. You want to see me break my neck? Watch me when I discover I didn't see the wolf spider in the shower until after I turned the shower on and stepped inside.

But this is so incredibly AWFULLY well done, I was laughing out loud. So I am sharing it. And I think the poor people who were pranked deserve a free cruise or something. 100 lottery tickets. Dinner at the fanciest restaurant in town. I would have probably peed my pants.

If you want to skip the swamp monster, move ahead to 30 seconds.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Seven plays with Bear's tail and gets smacked....gently



We have quite a few applications on Seven, and I'm checking veterinarian's references tomorrow. Work was quite busy today after the long weekend, so my apologies to anyone who hasn't heard from us!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Another colony gone. That's a good thing!

Note: this post was edited on 9/1/14 to add more of the backstory of this colony - SG.

Unfortunately, I dropped off the radar of a lot of my former colonies when I ditched my second phone number. I'd been planning to check in with several of them, but Carol from Lockwood found me first, by calling my work phone and leaving a message that she no longer needed the two shelters we had brought her years ago, and did I want them back?

When I arrived, the two last cats of the extended colony greeted me. One, a shy calico, trotted around behind the house. This lovely dilute torti was perfectly happy to greet me and get a scratch under the chin. Both of these formerly feral cat now eat inside the house, and come in for the night. The feral colony of six original cats (2002), plus cats that were later abandoned in the area, is no more. Over all those years, only one litter of kittens was born, to one of two new female cats who were abandoned on the road in 2009. This dilute torti was one of those female cats. The kittens were Burp, Fart, and Hiccup! Carol kidded me (or half-kidded me!) that this was one of "my foster cats" that I had promised to take in for adoption. I kidded back that this was HER abandoned cat to begin with. While I wish I could take in every cat that might one day tame up, as this sweetheart certainly did, I'd be hoarder if I did so. This girl was a lucky one, and now sleeps safe and warm at night.



Carol and I had a good visit, and we loaded up the shelters. I'll clean out the bedding, and they'll be available for the next colony.

Some people will say: "Twelve years to get rid of 15 or so cats? I could have just killed them in one day." Right. Except you wouldn't. The local shelter receives no funding for cat control and accepts cats as they have space--funded all on the donations of cat lovers. No one gives them money to "kill cats" and the towns and county don't even give them money to help them. This woman had basically been held hostage by kittens every summer. People dumped cats, cats had kittens, and as a caring person, she fed them and found them homes, to have it all repeated every year, to the point where she could not travel to see her family. For twelve years, she has been kitten free, except for one summer. However because she had a relationship with a feral cat rescue...wow--they were instantly gone! She is now regularly able to visit her children. Where are the volunteer cat killers who run around helping people "get rid of their cats" and can do it publicly and will come back when needed...all for free? I guarantee if you hang out your shingle advertising help "killing cats" someone in a uniform will be knocking on your door in short order.

Sure, Carol had to feed these few cats every day, and take them to the veterinarian when they were sick. She was doing that anyway...with far more cats. And these cats give back to her in company and comfort, with no fears that they will pop out more kittens. TNR is not "responsibility free" but it does reduce the work, heartache, and the number of hunting cats outdoors.



These shelters were donated to me--they were not ones we built--and for my life I can't remember who gave them to us. Do they look familiar to anyone?

Checking in on Beemer's colony

During our veggie swap, Beemer showed up for a photo opportunity:


This colony has the Cadillac of cat shelters, but they don't often use it, because there are so many other great places to hide, including a workshop.


He comes in the house now and lets Valarie pet him. He was a bit wary today, with me poking around. But no semi-tame cat turns down treats!


There are only two cats at this colony now. A new pet-able (but not grab-able) cat has shown up, and they are trying to catch him.

Feed your local cat lady

The bounty of summer is ready to share, and I'm blessed to have neighbors who share with me. Earlier this summer Debra and Christy made a gift of fruits and veggies:


Yesterday, Valarie and I worked a trade. I got the more plentiful end of the deal: cucumbers and a pepper for pickles, zucchini for bread, and an additional grocery bag of brown rice and wheat pasta. She got Swiss chard from my garden. Swiss chard, kale, cherry tomatoes, and a zucchini that is just starting to bear are all I have this year. I have a start on the bread. I probably grate and freeze what extra zucchini I end up with, for bread later this year


Do you share your garden veggies with others, and (or) end up with gifts from them as well?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Laptop disaster...averted

Cute little Seven...who could resist that face?



I was working with my work computer on my right, and my Owl House computer on the left, and went to wave Seven away from the keyboard...knocking over a glass of lemon water, right across the Owl House laptop.

#*%$##!!!!

I flipped it over immediately to let it drain, but by morning it was still ill. The laptop would turn on, but I could not type. Also, a very handsome male voice was now speaking every function aloud. I didn't even know it had that option.

I swore. I cried. I yelled very very loudly. And then I hunkered down with my work computer and went searching for A) YouTube videos on how to change the keyboard, and B) a cheap keyboard.


I found them both. I ordered the cheapest knockoff keyboard I could find ($28), charged it to Discover, and had it express mailed. It arrived today, and with much additional swearing and a long hard search for my set of tiny screwdrivers, the keyboard was changed and...it works! It's a pretty crappy keyboard. I have to smack down hard on the keys for all of them to work. But, it works!

Had the entire laptop been killed, I don't know what I would have done.

Whew.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cat Concerto

I can't recall if I posted this in the past for my musical family or not. I heard from my sister Linda today, and for all my family and their love of music and cats. This is for you. Music can be heard in even the idle playfulness of cats (Lots of flute, just for you!)



The original video was just the cat playing the piano. A composer was inspired by the video and created the concerto.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Presents in the mail from Handmade House in NJ

I believe my mailperson is training to be a ninja. I took Molly for a short walk, came home, took her inside, stopped in the bathroom, came out, and found these waiting for me on the coffee table on the porch:


Cat blankets from the stealth knitters! Just in time, as the last batch are almost gone, except for a couple of hardy ones that for some reason didn't get cat-kneaded into non-existence. The cats, especially those who end up spending time in a cage, love these. And adopters love them as well. When we send one home with them and let them know that people actually knit them for the cat or kitten they adopted, they get a real understanding that animal rescue is a community affair.

With five adoptables in the house, certainly we first had to check them out with the cats who were sunning on the porch. Seven and Patter gave them a once over. Seven apparently believes they make better toys than beds.



In the cat facility, Fluffy gives the blankets a snuggle test. Apparently he approves:



The cats are so happy when they get new things that smell and feel differently from the same-old same-old boring towels that smell like my usual laundry. I'll add more photos tomorrow when they get added to their runs!

Thank you! Thank you! It's so wonderful to know you are thinking of us!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Time makes a mess. Cleaning up.

Pre-post note: Do you need to build shelters? Here are some great plans and here is a video on building them. These aren't the shelters I built, but I might try them next time around.

It's always so nice when you first start seriously managing a feral cat colony. Nice new shelters. Nice clean straw. Nice new bowls.

Then time takes over. Sowbugs and spiders move in. They need a repainting. Then gradually paint just doesn't cut it. Corners start to rot.

They need to go, to be replaced by something new.

This summer it was time to replace the feeding stations for the Fast Food Ferals. This would be the third round of new boxes for that location. I brought them down about a month ago, but wasn't able to drag the old ones out alone. This weekend when I went in to replenish the food, I cleaned out the back of my car and brought along a sledge hammer to pummel the old shelters into pieces that would be small enough for Nancy and I to carry. I sprayed the pieces with insect killer (sorry Mother Nature, but I really don't want huge spiders making a home in my car. I miss my old truck!) and met Nancy at Chili's to give the insects a chance to pass on. Then we went back to load my car.




Bye, bye old shelters!

Thank you to Nancy for helping me out, for letting me pick your brains about having a housemate, and for just in general letting me purge my soul. There is nothing better than a friend.



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Getting the word out!

Marketing is not the easiest job in the world, especially when you are marketing a "product" that people already have a lot of.

Like cats.

Once upon a time, when the internet was young, the few rescues who were online with Petfinder (like myself) could post their cats and find homes quickly with just internet exposure. Now the majority of rescue groups are online, and ---thankfully!--- there are more rescue groups every day. 501c3 groups with a volunteer base can also do on-site adoptions, or even live-in adoptions at stores like Petco and Petsmart. Facebook is a great way to reach people as well. Now there is Instagram. Pinterest! Yikes! So much to do! So much "competition!" It's the very best type of competition--who is going to say No to more cat rescue groups?--but nonetheless, our cats need homes so they need to shine.

Ignoring the "old way" of marketing pets is also a mistake. There are lots of great people who are not on Facebook, but love cats. There are people who walk by their local post-office or grocery store bulletin boards, just curious as to what might be there. To that end, I'm enlisting our small army of supporters within an hour of Spencer NY to put up these little cards to try and get more people to visit this blog, volunteer, or donate:


Thank you Nancy, Christy, Debra, and Beth for offering to take some already after I posted this on The Owl House Facebook page (if you haven't already, please "Like" it!). I will get yours in the mail ASAP. You will need to find a couple of tacks to put them up, as tacks are not particularly mail-able.

If you know of a bulletin board (At work? Your grocery store? Your veterinarian's office?) that you pass frequently, and would be willing to tack one of these up, let me know! It is important that it be a place that you visit now and then, so when they are empty you can take it down and either ask for more cards, or toss it away.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Paying it forward

My mother lives in Norwich, and like every city and village, they have issues with feral cats. A nearby neighbor is apparently the go-to cat trapper, who helps people out. She helped my mother get a mom-cat and kittens to the Chenango County SPCA when my mom discovered them living under the hostas in her garden. I'm sure they were just like a huge umbrella that kept the small family dry! I had just been at that garden the week before and hadn't noticed them. Last word was mom-cat and kittens were doing fine after being moved from my mom's manicured "wilds."


Mom wanted to do something for the trapper, and I happened to have a new trap, so mom paid to donate the trap, and I donated a feral cat den. While traps are great to have (and vital, of course!) my biggest concern is always that scared cats be handled humanely, so I felt the trap/den combo was the best gift option (versus two traps).


My friend Debra and I are looking forward to getting the Great American Cat Project going so that we can do precisely this: provide people with spay/neuter funding, equipment, and training, so they can "help themselves" and "help others."

Thanks, Mom, for paying it forward to the trapper who helped you out!