Sunday, August 17, 2014

Looking for a housemate

I told a potential housemate that I would send her photos, and it occurs to me I should just put them in a blog post so I can direct other people here as well to see it.

First there is your basic shared kitchen:

The upstairs landing is where the new cabinet (yet to be assembled) and upstairs cooking things (toaster oven, small fridge, water cooler, etc.) will be. Right now I'm ripping up old brown carpet and painting the floor. In the future this would be re-carpeted, but not this month! The cat furniture will be leaving.

Then there is the "living room" which right now sort of looks like somebody's great aunt's parlor. Subfloor is going down here, and it will be carpeted a neutral color. This room will ultimately be re-painted, but I'd figure I'd wait until I had someone lined up so it could be painted to their preference.

The other side of the room:

Then there is the "middle room" which I personally would use as a bedroom, as it is the quietest room, with thicker floors with new beige carpet tile, and no grates that open to the downstairs--therefore more privacy. There is a closet in this room.

Finally there is the "back bedroom" which I probably would use as an office, with windows that look down over the side yard. This room also has a closet, and very thick new dark blue carpet with a pad. The wonderfully tacky yellow chair does not need to remain up here, lol!

Here are the stairs:

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pitter and Patter Adoption Post

I'm going to start posting a number of photos and videos of each cat in a single post, adding photos as I get good ones. I will then share the link to each cat's post on their adoption profiles on Petfinder, etc. so people can learn more about them. This post location will be for Pitter and Patter.

They are spay/neutered, FeLV/FIV negative, vaccinated, treated for fleas and internal parasites. They are shy of strangers and will take some time to settle in to a new home. Patter is more outgoing than Pitter. A quiet home is preferred, and it would be wonderful if they could go together, because as you can see, they are quite bonded. If they were adopted together, the adoption fee would be only $50--the usual fee for one cat.

Pitter and Patter arrived on our doorstep last fall, nearly dead. I was skeptical they could be saved, but when someone else has gone to the effort of rescuing two kittens off the side of the road and asks you for help to take them one step farther, you don't say "sorry, it's too late." Luckily, warmth and rehydration brought these two back from the edge. Here is a video of Pitter and Patter a few hours after receiving fluids and being warmed up:

Pitter (female, spayed)

Patter (male, neutered)

What a sweet way to wake up in the morning:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Feral happiness!

Thanks for sharing this on Facebook, Fiona!

If I can touch them, they come off the street (rocks?) But I know this isn't an option everywhere.

Kibble dance!

So much "happy" you won't know what to do with it!

Schubert and Tuck check in!

Anne sends:

Schubert and Tuck were 7 on Sunday. They are doing great — such good boys! They have come a long way since you dropped them off on that cold Christmas morning 6 1/2 years ago. I thought you might like to see them. Hope you’re doing well!

I was very attached to these two, and was so glad when they got a great home. And yes, I actually did a Christmas morning delivery of these two handsome fellows:

Baby pictures! Here is Tuck. And here is Schubert!

Thanks, Anne, for giving them the most wonderful home! They sure grew up to be gorgeous cats. (Please: tell me how you keep them from getting tubby!. I need that secret!)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Kitty boarding

Now and then being a cat lady becomes valuable to those who know you. This kitty needed a place to stay for four days. The couple who looks after the Owl House cats while I travel for work wanted to do some travel of their own. They were in fact keeping this kitty for a friend, so he came to stay with me for the week.

What a sweetie. Neat as a pin. No litter out of the box; no bits of crunchy dry food on the floor. No knocking things over. I wish my own cats had such manners!

However, I will use this post to get on one soapbox, and I hope I don't peeve my caretakers. When they texted me about bringing the cat, I texted back "Do you have a crate to bring him in?" I have a zillion crates here and can lend them out. They texted back a "yes," and it didn't occur to me to add "Because if you hand-carry that cat here, I will kill you."

Well, their own little kitten, and the kittens from the litter she came from, were headed off to be spay/neutered at the Tompkins County SPCA that same week. So they had lent their crates to the person who was getting those kittens and the mom fixed.

Needless to say, when they arrived, they were hand-carrying the cat. I did not flip out, because I didn't want to scare the cat, but I very nearly did.

The saddest, most devastating stories I have heard of beloved cats lost and killed, have been when a friend/pet-sitter takes their friend's cat to a third party to watch. The cat gets lost---someone opens a door, the cat is being carried and bolts--the cat is far from home, and is never found. The cat of a couple I knew was being watched by a woman. The woman's mother died, and the woman took my friends' cat to another person's house. The cat walked up to the door, and a visitor, thinking the cat was allowed out, just opened the door and let her go. Weeks, and countless heartbreaking hours of searching later, the SPCA reported they had found the cat, starved and skinny, dead alongside a country road.

I cannot emphasize ENOUGH that a cat, if not happily leash trained (and I mean happily) should always be in a crate while traveling. And a good crate. I never go to rabies clinics any longer, because someone was always losing a cat, and I was always searching for it and ending up sick to my stomach for weeks when the cat was never found.

When this cute guy went home, I sent him with a crate. He's a small little guy, and people are always giving me small crates that their cats outgrew, so I didn't need it back.

But please, for the sake your cat, or your friend's cat, always transport the cat in a crate, no matter how much he or she seems to hate it.

I will now commend my cat caretakers for adopting a kitten from someone who was getting the entire family fixed, and for getting their kitten fixed as well. They could not adopt from me, because I don't allow my adopted cats to go outdoors because most of the cats in my care are quite shy.

And I quite enjoyed having this black kitty as a visitor!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

New short-and-more-affordable charity status!

About half a week ago, my friend Debra stopped by with a kitten that had been abandoned at a colony she had had sterilized years ago. Debra and I became friends many years ago when she was looking for some assistance with sterilizing that first feral cat colony in Waverly, NY. Since then she's become a major cat advocate herself, as well as dealing--as many of us do--with human care issues as well. We may love cats, but family and friends are vital to us as well.

Neither one of us has free dollars to just toss at cat rescue. It's a regimented thing. "XX dollars" are available this month that hasn't been spent on food, gas, mortgage, "XX cat(s)" can be rescued. Sometimes, however, cats and kittens show up when the checking account is empty or all the bucks within have been "assigned" to gas, electric, and other bills. But the cats are living creatures. You can't just let them starve. But you can't become a hoarder, either. And you can't ignore your family because a cat needs to be spayed. You lie in bed at night amazed that you have humans on one hand that you care about, cats on the other--as well as people who care about those cats. Imagine what it's like when someone calls you desperate for help. It's no longer just a cat issues. It's a community issues. Just as if you were sharing food. You are sharing help with cats. You are taking an emotional burden off of people who are often trying to handle other issues as well. Family. Health. Finances.

So on my porch, over a bottle of wine (provided by Debra--thank you!), we discussed the inevitable 501(c)(3) charity status.

It really is absurd that I haven't obtained it before now. I have grant-givers whomping me over the head in my travels ("What? You don't have your 501?") One reason I have not "pushed the button" is that, when I was a business--people I helped took responsibility. "Hi. I have wildlife control business and I've heard you have a problem with cats. I'll donate my time and get them fixed, if you would be willing to have your staff feed them, and let me bring you shelters...." And you'd be amazed how many businesses see you as a partner...someone donating something vital. They would step forward with real help. Land. Supplies. Staff who would feed the cats.

But when you become a charity? Sometimes, things change. "Isn't this your JOB? Don't you CARE about these cats? How can you turn me AWAY?" When you are a charity rather than a business, somehow, to some people, their problem becomes your problem. In some cases (not all) they want you to take the burden off their shoulders, instead of being partners, half way. For that reason, I shied away from 501(c)(3) status for a long while. Yes...decades.

I used to work for an SPCA, so I know how different it can be, between being just a "person" donating your time, or a "business" donating your services, versus a "charity" whom everyone believes is shirking their duty if they don't take in each and every cat that needs help. In reality, there is no difference. Dollars are dollars. Minutes are minutes. But to the public, there is a big difference. "Don't you care about these cats? How can you not help me/them?" Hey, I do it myself. I know how peeved I've been at shelters who won't take in every cat, so that people end up calling me...just a person. I have to remind myself that these shelters don't receive any municipal aid for cats. Just as I don't. We are the same. It's just that my rescue is just a person. Their rescue is a group. Does that make much difference? Not when it comes to space, dollars, time, and sanity.

So for Debra and I, the day comes: Is cat rescue just a thing you do as a hobby? Or something more?

So we talked about our lives, and also about getting the 501, and the grants that are available, when justified.

We made the decision: Go for it.

A mere day later, I was thumbing through my Time magazine, and found this

The IRS has FINALLY put their expedited 501c3 process in place. Instead of a 23 page form---it's a three page form. Instead of $800 in application fees, it is $400.

How is that for timing?

Work/Life balance

I spent quite a bit of time playing "catch-up" at my paying job today, as well as doing work around the house and yard. With all the rain we've had this summer, there are mushrooms, literally, growing on my cement basement floor, so I spent some time down there brooming down spider webs, sweeping the damp floor, and cleaning out crap. I dragged the screen door I normally use in the house (when kittens need to be confined to the den) down into the basement so that I could have it open to the outside without allowing critters (and Bear, my one indoor/outdoor cat) access. Three-quarters of the way through the day I looked at my poor neglected dog, threw her no-pull halter on her, said "Car Molly!" and took her with me into the village for a walk around Nichols Pond. So here is downtown Spencer. Seriously, this pond is directly across from our grocery and pizza parlor:

Molly was wet, muddy, happy and tired when we returned home.

Anyone want to live upstairs in my house? You, too, could live in the middle of nowhere, and make a difference however you chose to do so. ;)

Friday, July 25, 2014

New kitten, and more coming

I've been a long time absent from the blog, due to work travel. More will come this weekend, but this is the cutey that Debra brought in from Waverly. He was dumped in a colony that she had sterilized a number of years ago:

He should find a home in short order once he has had his FeLV/FIV test.

Then I came home to find this tucked in my front door when I ran out to the bank today:

AND, also received a voice mail message from someone whose neighbor moved out awhile ago, leaving these folks with ten breeding cats around their home, desperate for food, and having kittens.

I'm finally off to bed. It will be a busy weekend!

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.