Sunday, November 29, 2015

Big boxes of toys for the cats from Mary and Joe!

My UPS guy is a ninja, I swear. I didn't even hear him deliver two big boxes from Mary (Jack and The Leewit's home) on the porch. Mary had just sent a very generous (our largest) donation to our spay/neuter fund, which was a huge help as we had four female kittens on deck, and two still more to go, for spay/neuter, plus a small balance still on account at the veterinarian.

The cats benefit from monetary donations, of course, however apparently Mary felt they deserved a more one-on-one experience of her love!

The house cats (both the four personal cats and those up-for-adoption) always get to test out new gifts when they arrive. However I try to make sure the cat facility adoptables get most of the new stuff, since they deserve interesting and new things in their all-vinyl-floor life. I let the house cats check out the beds, but most of the toys and all of the scratchers were saved for the cat facility cats, so they did not get pre-licked presents!

Nellie and Fluffy check out the Cat Ball.

Oliver gives it a try, too. "What do you mean we don't get to keep it in here?"

Gremlin tries the fuzzy bed first.

Gremlin likes the kitty Canoe so much, I think I'll let him keep it in the house. After all, he is up for adoption, and Mary sent three of them!

It was evening when I took presents out to the cat facility and their basking lamp was on, so the video is quite red. Here they are checking out the wonderful catnip toys, the Cat Ball, and one of the scratchers!

The cat meowing in the background is poor neglected Pierre, who could see all the fun from his run, but I did not let him out as he is quite the camera hog. Here is sweet Heidi cuddling up with the scratcher:

Thank you, Mary and Joe! You have definitely made it "Christmas" over here for all of our cats, and myself!

Gifts for grumpy kitties (and grumpy cat ladies as well)

I'm belated on sharing some of the gifts our cats have received over the past month!

One of the best parts of cat-sitting now and then is that I get to see some of our past adoptees. It's not something I can do regularly since I travel so much myself and have my own house-sitters, but it's a fun break. When I visited Peetie, Paatie, Phillip, and Jellie this past month, Christy and Gordon left a present on the table for us!

In addition to a very generous payment for the visit, there were several kitty things to make me smile and decorate my house at harvest time, and this very special gift for the cats. A six-pack of Comfort Zone!

Using cat pheromones to keep our cats relaxed (i.e. not spraying on things!) sometimes seems like throwing good money out the window given how expensive it is...until we run out and stop using it, and suddenly notice things like throw pillows--which I use to keep cats off chairs that are especially tempting pee-objects--have a faint whiff of pee, or cats growling and smacking at one another. While I don't mind my house smelling like a damp old 1860's farmhouse in the summer, I do mind smelling cat smells when you walk in the door. People judge a cat rescue by how it smells. Heck, people judge cat owners by how their house smells. Fluffy and Oliver tend to be the only culprits, but one cats who pees creates other cats who pee. I also like to use it in the cat facility when I can, because it seems to me it would be even more boring and stressful than the house. It just isn't as obvious when there is stress because there are far fewer "pee-worthy" objects there. The cats in the facility seldom (dare I say never?) pee outside of the boxes.

I do my best to introduce cats carefully and keep them separated by who is happiest together, and nothing makes me feel more like I have failed than listing to cats smack and growl over tiny things. We haven't had a cat fight since Ivan and Thomas were both here---they would get along 90% of the time, then one day I'd come home to tufts of cat fur on the floor. I would like to keep the place fight-free. This means cats need to be as happy as possible. ComfortZone (Feliway) definitely helps with that.

Thank you, Christy and Gordon! We all appreciate less stress at the holidays.

Monday, November 23, 2015

It's Tuna Time!

I haven't had a chance to post photos of the new cats, Pepper and Timea. Timea zips out from under the bed too quickly for me to get a good photo of her, but Pepper loooves his tuna too much...he just can't resist, and jumps up on the bed, and even allows me to pick him up. I hear them romping around upstairs over my head when I work, clearly having a good time now that they have two rooms to play in instead of one. Looks are deceiving in this photo. Sgt. Pepper is a very big boy! He might weigh as much as Bear, but there's not an ounce of fat on him. He's just a big muscular cat. Timea looks small next to him, but she's not a little cat either.

His rescuer sent them each a new fuzzy bed and of course the every-needed paper plates that make life so much easier. One of the kittens checked them out when they arrived.

Unfortunately I think it will be a little while before they'll stay in the beds long enough for me to get a photo of them when I come in the room!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Farewell, Pickles

Farewell to Pickles. She lost a lot of weight while I was gone in October. Blood tests showed end-stage kidney disease. She perked up with potassium supplements and fluids, but after two days of fluids, she refused to allow me to catch her. When she slept with Fluffy, I could sneak up on her to get a hold of her, but sleeping with Fluffy was her one true joy in life, and then she no longer dared because she knew I would stalk her there. When I traveled, how would anyone get a hold of her when I am the only one who can touch her? She would have had to have been caged and handled by strangers.

So I left her alone for two days to enjoy her friend, and then we said goodbye at the veterinarian's. She was sixteen years old, and now I'm very glad I brought her and Fluffy in from the cat facility to enjoy the house, the porch, and the catio for a year or so.

It's just as well she went before Fluffy (who is two years older). She would have been lost without him.

Cornerstone sent a beautiful card. The messages they leave inside always make me cry.

Remember to smack that's winter

I know the mantra, but I seldom smack my own car hood. Until I opened up the hood of my car to add washer fluid and found these tracks yesterday:

I am now a dedicated hood-smacker, and I hope you will be one, too.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Cat facility photos

Our last two visitors came to the house and never made it out to the cat facility. So I'm posting a few photos of it here. I'll get the other side tomorrow.

The "cage room."

Goggles in her two-tier cage:

Dixie and Solo in their cage:

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pepper and Timea come to The Owl House from another rescuer

We have two more Owl House residents. It probably will take a bit of time to find them a home, as they are a "shy-cat pair." However we have found homes for pairs of this sort before!

There is a difference this time. Usually we end up with shy-cat pairs because we have rescued older kittens that don't tame up to be bomb-proof. Pepper and Timea come from a rescuer four hours to the east. She has tried for a year to find them a home. She did find a place for them, with the help of another cat rescue in her area, however the home was too active and too loud for the shy cats. Pepper found his way into a hole under the stairs in the basement, and it took weeks to re-capture him. The rescuer took them back, understandably. I would have, too.

We were originally contacted a few months ago by a friend, Jill. Jill was a great help to me back when I was doing wildlife control and also advocating for feral cats. I did not take full advantage of the writing opportunities she and a Cooperative Extension biologist offered me at the time. However both of them stuck their heads out in a big way for feral cats. It's not particularly career-advancing to be in a biology-related job and state "feral cats can be successfully managed if they are managed in a scientifically rigorous manner." Jill and Paul did.

Jill has a friend whose mother is Pepper and Timea's rescuer, and he was trying to help his mom find them a good place.

In addition to friend-connections, there was karma-seeking involved. Some day, when I'm 15 years older than I am (or sooner, God forbid) I may be having to find a place for some of my shy cats. I hope there is someone there to help me as well.

While the last thing I need are more cats, we did place eight shy ones this past year. So Pepper and Timea came to stay yesterday, after their four-hour drive. Apparently they were great in their crates. Here are photos that Jo, their rescuer sent beforehand, because currently they are under the bed staring at me with owl-wide eyes.


And Timea:

They came with quite a dowry. Tuna (their special treat), tons of dry food for both the adoptable and street cats, tons of canned food, pillowcases, and a donation check. We won't need to pay out-of-pocket to feed these two for quite awhile. We also sent microchips to Jo ahead of time, and she took them to the veterinarian and got them well-pet checked, vaccinated and chipped.

Which goes to show my gut feeling was correct; the rescuer really loves these cats and does not want them to just go anywhere. I'm honored she trusts us to find them a good home, like Bo and Davis did.

Things that are always more amazing in person

The other day I went outside to the cat facility before the sun was completely up and was met by a morning rainbow. Sadly, the iPhone didn't do it justice, but I'm going to blog it to remind myself to remember what it really looked like.

Some day I need to invest in PhotoShop

If you have a laptop you may need to tilt your screen back.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The new "cat tree" gains acceptance

I had mentioned earlier that I had converted an entertainment center into a cat tree and had some concerns because no one was really using it. Slowly a few of the cats are giving it their seal of approval.

Thank goodness. If that had turned out to be a flop after all that work it would have been quite the disappointment! So, $25 and a few hours work well-spent!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Cats meeting babies for the first time

This is very sweet. Please share with any pregnant friends who have had to listen to all the unwise people who say "you have to get rid of your cat if you are having a baby." It ain't so!

Here's Goggles!

There's a new kitty in the picture...the third drop-off this month. She's a cutie though.

I named her Goggles because she has very dark black "mascara" around her eyes. She's extremely friendly and is going to be a beautiful cat!

However she nearly caused me to melt down when she arrived. It was cold, and I had just returned the latest neutered feral to his colony, our of the unheated downstairs of the our cat facility, and I had moved Pierre (formerly Scruffy) upstairs now that he is confirmed clear from mange. I was sooo happy that no cats were in the downstairs unheated section now that the chill had set in.

I had just run to the store to pick up some cheap eats and essentials because as always, the end of the week finances were tight, and also I was headed out for travel in a few days and wasn't going to be doing any messy cooking:

In the short time I was gone on my shopping trip to Dollar General, someone had left a kitten on my porch, using a crate I had had sitting there:

I could hear meowing as I walked up to the house and could only think "Gosh, did I leave Bear outside while I was gone?" And then I saw the crate and started swearing. All I could think of was the cold downstairs where she would have to stay, and the vet bill that would be required to get her FeLV/FIV tested immediately so she could go upstairs with the other cats and be warm and safe.

I thought: What sort of JERK would wait until I was gone and then leave a kitten on the porch in MY crate and not leave a note?

Well, errrr, as it turns out, a very kind neighbor would!

They were walking their dog and heard meowing in the woods. They saw the kitten, got a hold of her, and while the woman walked the dog behind, the man walked ahead to my house, hoping I would be home. When I wasn't, since they were on foot, they put the kitten in the crate on my porch, and walked back home to get the car. I learned this when they drove up a short time later, with the note they planned to leave, debating whether they should actually leave the note and the kitten, or take the kitten home with them (with no place to put her, as they have six rescue cats of their own). But luckily, I was home.

This calmed my ire considerably. Even though some jerk had still dumped the kitten, kind people had rescued her. That sort of levels out my blood pressure.

She was a champ at the veterinarian. She had an upper respiratory, so they sent her home with some lysine. She's still sneezing a bit a week later, but she's not worse, which is how viruses usually roll, but she's upstairs where it's warm. The other cats have all been vaccinated multiple times, and I have them on lysine as well as a preventative.

I had to take her to a veterinarian that was open that day and would take CareCredit, so no rescue discount, but at least she's FeLV/FIV negative. Part of that bill is Feliway for the diffuser in the house. It really does make a different in how my adult cats tolerate the young transients. Goggles will still need to be spayed, but perhaps I can get her adopted and bring her back for that, since we have a ton of female kittens right now.

At least she's not another black one! We have plenty of those!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Does your cat show his tummy? Oliver does!

Behavior explained! (Note: video seems to take a long time to load).

Some cats certainly do like having their bellies rubbed, but I know with Oliver, he "learned" to like it because I was always rubbing his tummy when he showed it. However the first time I did it, he was all "meh" about it because it wasn't what he was asking for.

Gremlin just can't figure it out

Gremlin is a shy cat who is up for adoption. He is in the house with me because he is the designate "chew toy" for my young cat Oliver, to keep Oliver from harassing the older cats with his constant young-cat need to play. Gremlin is very personable, but he only likes to be petted when he's eating or is sleeping with me. The rest of the time he shies away. I can practically step on him and he won't move. He talks back when I converse with him. But reach out a hand and...whooooosh! He's off.

Which has made it a bit difficult to teach him to use the cat door to the catio, which I have put up now that it is too cold to have the window open all the time.

If he is waiting by it, and I go to push it open a little way for him, he dodges away. On the few occasions I've managed to hold it open for him (by looking the other way and ignoring him for far too many precious minutes of my day) he has managed to push back inside once he has gone out. But he doesn't comprehend he can push to go outside.

Rose, Bear, and Oliver have the door down. Fluffy gets it when he wants to. Pickles and Nellie don't even try, which is a pity because Pickles loves the catio.

So he just wistfully looks out the window.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Mystery gifts...we love them

I arrived home from a work trip to Michigan to find a box on the doorstep with my college roommate's address on it. Towels and Fancy Feast! And a card I laughed my head off at, given how this is how I feel most of the time:

Towels don't go unclaimed very long in this household, unless I immediately put them away. Fluffy decided to give them their maiden "furring."

Thank you, Leslie! We need to get together sometime soon. It has been too long!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Box" kittens are back from foster!

Mary Beth and her family fostered the box-abandoned kittens these past few weeks while I've been traveling, so they wouldn't be stuck in a cage. She also got one adopted!

I arranged to pick them up on my way home from the airport. Could you believe I forgot to bring a crate? I stopped at Big Lots and picked up an affordable soft-sided one that I can also leave open in the house to get my own cats and any house-fostered used to sleeping in a crate and perhaps vet trips will be less stressful.

Mary Beth also sent me home with a 48-count box of wet food. Whoo hoo! Gremlin was happy to pose with the

Fostering is such a huge help. I'm so busy with work all day long that new kittens often don't get the socialization they need to turn them into "bomb-proof" kittens. If you would like to play with some kittens, or have your kids play with kittens, for a week or two, please let me know. I'll be glad to send the next batch your way!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Rambler and Blue get a home!

"Hey Lady, be sure you initial all the boxes on that contract!"

They have a new housemate--a dachshund who just loooooved them!

Kittens made a rapid move to a foster home

Two out the door! The two kittens Branden and Nikki rescued when they found them boxed up outside the barn are in a foster home. Mary Beth adopted Whitten from us (formerly Ferdinand), and has a guest room (and a ten year-old son who loves cats), so she picked them up this morning.

They look like they had a great day (photo nipped from Facebook):

When I went to break down the box they were left in, I found a note on the side:

I think it is supposed to say "Please take care of them."

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Kittens dumped while I was traveling

My cat caretakers were greeted by this box last week while I was traveling for work, sitting next to the door to the cat facility, which is a mere four feet from the roadway:

The box contained these two little girls:

They are healthy and friendly, but of course unplanned, so now we are having to figure them into the budget. At least they are not shy kittens, and did not get loose from the box! I have put food in the lower barn, in case any escaped unnoticed, or if a mom cat was dumped as well.

On the "planned" side, handsome Half Moon was neutered last week and will be going back to his colony in Waverly:

Two kittens were just adopted and will be delivered to their new home in Vestal tomorrow, Rambler and Blue! I'll posted photos of them later today. Now I'm out the door for a cat litter/cat food run.