Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Guess what I have??? The BEST. NEWS. EVER. It may not be as good as someone gifting me a brand new Honda Civic with eternal gas flow and the promise to pay for any damage/repairs, but it comes pretty darn close:

My dad took my car to the Honda place (dealership?) yesterday. I was all excited, b/c although I knew I would have to pay at least a couple hundred dollars for it's repair (just in case the other people weren't being truthful - my dad mistrusts car people, I guess), I knew it was going to be fixed soon. Driving even to and from work (which is only about five miles round-trip) has been anxiety-provoking. That little yellow light was constantly taunting me: "There's something wrong with your car. There's something wrong with your car." And I was afraid of the thing exploding for some reason. My dad assured me that it wouldn't, but that little light isn't very specific - so who knows what could have gone down.

It was practically blizzard-ing out that morning, so my dad gave me a ride to work. B/c of the weather at that time, he planned on not taking my car, as my tires aren't the safest. But after he gave me a ride home, he informed me that he did indeed take my car in. They first fixed my little plug thing that the hand-held-screening device hooks into. (You know that thing that tells you what's wrong with the car? I don't have words for it.) Then they checked it, and it was truly my catalytic converter. When he told me this, I got all disappointed, b/c then I knew I'd have to spend a lot of money.

But since this was a Honda place, they totally looked up the previous owner, the one who had purchased the converter, and they found out that IT HAD A TEN YEAR, 150,000 MILE WARRANTY. So they fixed it for FREE. Can you believe that? I did a little dance of joy when I found all this out. So today, I went to get new tires for my car. And you know what? They are unimpressive. I'm hoping they help me to not die in the snow, though. *laughs nervously*

But yay for warranties!!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


I got a GPS system for Christmas. Now maybe I won't get lost going Northwest when I'm supposed to be heading Southeast. Let's just hope I can figure out how to use it!!! = )

Christmas Adoption

A man called me this morning about Wanda and Milton. His grandson had been been bothering him about getting a cat, so he and his wife started looking through Craigslist. When they saw my post, they realized getting two cats would be a good idea, so they could keep each other company. (I think that was their reasoning, anyway?) I told him that if he wanted to come visit, that would be great.

We met at the hospital around eleven in the morning. When I walked in to meet them, T told me that they had arrived a few minutes earlier, and that she had already brought the man back to meet with the cats. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Milton was not acting the scaredy-cat, but was rubbing up on the man like he was the greatest thing since canned food. Wanda was being her silly self, too, head-butting him and nibbling on his fingers.

His wife and grandson were waiting up front - I think he didn't want the boy's hopes to be raised by seeing the cats before they knew if they wanted to adopt them. Anyway, they all seemed to fall for their charms - Wanda grabbing on to their hands to make them pet her, Milton standing up on his hind legs to be petted. The grandson came back with the wife to visit and I was pleased to note that he didn't seem to be a pushy, grabby sort of boy. He was very gentle with the two cats, and seemed genuinely interested in having his "own" cats. (He liked all the other boarding cats as well, and was kind of freaked out by Ian and his one eye. Haha.)

I had a really good feeling about this couple. I tend to get uncomfortable inside with people I don't trust, and I didn't feel that at all with these people. And the boy, too. I've seen a lot of little kids that don't know how to behave themselves with animals, but this boy seemed quite sweet.

I explained to them about Wanda's sensitive stomach, how she needs a bland diet so she doesn't get diarrhea. They seemed fine with that. I made sure they knew that Wanda doesn't like to be picked up - loves to be petted, rubbed, to sit on your lap, but not picked up. Not sure if it's just uncomfortable or what, but some people expect a cat to be fine with anything, and I wanted them to know beforehand that she doesn't like it. But they seemed to understand that all cats are different. Also let them know that Milton doesn't like to be walked at. He runs away if you move too fast. Just something I thought they should know so they didn't think he was weird? (People are strange when it comes to reasonings why animals are "odd," when it's really something quite simple. And you never know who those people are.)

I let them take the two home today. I knew they wanted to adopt them when they asked "What's the next step?" I decided that I should go with my instinctual response and let them adopt them, and what better day than today? So they went out to buy kitty supplies while I wrote up a contract and let Ian and Milton hang out one more time. I gave them Milton's favorite bouncy ball and asked them to take home their wicker basket bed until they were completely comfortable with their new home. I didn't want to *give* them the bed, as it belongs to my cats, but I thought it would be nice to let them keep it for a couple of months so that they could retain some of the same smells as the place that's been their home for the last couple of months.

Ian's the only reason why this is hard for me. He's going to really miss playing with Milton and having the two hang out with him in the evenings. I made sure to give him some extra love tonight, but no amount of extra pettings is going to take the place of proper companionship. I hope I'll be able to take him home with me one day. Overall, I am very happy about Wanda and Milton being adopted. The two seemed like a wonderful couple, with a sweet grandson, and I truly truly truly hope that everything works out for them.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wanda and Milton's Potential Adopter

Adopted another cat. Very very very disappointing for me, as I really liked this man. But he was quite decent in calling me to inform me. An acquaintance of his had to give up her three cats to Rochester Animal Services. Two were adopted, but the third was left. The man went to adopt her to make sure she didn't get euthanized... Honestly? I'm very happy for that cat, that s/he was saved. (RAS kills about 70% of all cats that come through their doors.)

I may be the most cat-lady-ish person there, but I am not a miracle worker. I can't conjure great adopters out of thin air. There are thousands of cats that need homes, just in this town. It's difficult adopting a cat out - it takes time. You can't put a time limit on an animal's life, especially not when they're young and healthy. I'm hoping there will be no talk of taking them to a shelter - b/c although I had no say in allowing them to become hospital foster cats, I will not allow them to be sent to a shelter without a "fight." (I only put that in quotation marks, b/c I'm not very fighty-ish)

Milton has really come out of his shell, by the way. He and Bud Bud have become good friends. (Which further convinces me that when I leave the hospital, I need to take BB with me. I have a feeling he and Noms would be great friends. Noms needs a good Bud, b/c Mellie swats him, and Smidge gives in to him...) They especially love running around after tennis balls and little bouncy balls. It's so cute to watch them! Milton has also gotten better in allowing us to approach and pet him without thinking we're coming to squash him or something. Wanda is her sweet self still, giving head butts and pawing at you when you're not paying close enough attention to her. = ) They really are super cats and deserve a great home. (Just like the millions of other brilliant cats out there...)

I'm really hoping for someone special for these two!


I've been so excited about reading books lately. I just finished "For the Love of a Dog." About dog emotions, and thinking, and how their brains work, how they're similar to ours. I feel like I learned so much through that book. Facial expressions in dogs, insight into the way - and why - they think and feel the way they do... I'm no book review-ist, but it was a very, very good book. Something I'd recommend to all with pets, even just cats. And kids, too! It was so interesting and fascinating. Very clear with information, but the right amount of depth. Haha, I just loved it.

I borrowed two of Temple Grandin's books from the library today. They're looking really exciting, too. Oh, and I got that Dewey cat book, too.

I believe we're celebrating Christmas tomorrow, as both Rena and I have to work Friday. I got everyone books. Mystery/Thriller/Horror for Rena, board books for Brianna, and child-related books for my dad. About toxins in everyday life. And the effect of watching television in young children. They probably got me books, too. = )

I've been in a board/card game mood lately, too. But no one to play with b/c the baby takes up all Rena's time, and I don't trust my car enough to go anywhere but to work. I really want to play Egyptian Rat's Crew! And Speed Scrabble!!! Haha.

We're taking my car in after Christmas. We'll see how that goes... I've been thinking about how I rode my bike to work all summer. Now that I have the car, I can't believe that I did that. I'm a bit of a lazy person. If my dad had been less cranky, I probably wouldn't have. I guess it's good that he was, though. If I say so myself, I was a trooper. I just hope when the weather gets nice again, I will use my bike again, for some things. Maybe not to go to work, but I do like my bike. I do want to use it. I wish I hadn't bought it new, though. That was silly on my part. I'm sure I could have found a nice, used bike, for way cheaper. I had been in one of those stupid moods where you want something and you want it *now.* And so I bought the bike for way too much. For me, anyway. = )

So, RIT has no cats to be sterilized at the moment, Mrs. L hasn't called me in a while, and Tipsy's cats are on Habitat For Cats' list (and will contact me so I can help?). However, SW, the woman in charge of the RIT campus cats told me about an old man a couple miles away that feeds the feral cats at his house, near a Chinese food restaurant. I guess he's a little out of it or something??? Not sure, but SW said his neighbors and relatives help him feed the cats and such. They've been trapping the cats and taking them to Lollypop Farm (which breaks my heart, b/c I know they only get killed there as they're feral). But that they would probably be willing to trap them to have them sterilized and returned. So I'm going to try to get this man's information to help him out.

I'm starting to feel bad, b/c I'm kind of limited in how I can help these people out. I can't trap for people all the time - they've got to be willing to help with it. I can't provide a quick solution as trapping all the cats at once would do, b/c we can only do one or two cats a day. I can't provide a set day a week for this b/c of the differing schedule. I just keep reminding myself that something is better than nothing and that every cat that's altered is one cat who will have a better life b/c of it. It's a heart-breaking business, this is, caring for these animals.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Melian and the Cardboard Scratcher

This is Melian, aka Mellie. I haven't ever posted about my own cats, have I??? Well, she used to be Mellie-belly, but we've been playing a lot more and has since lost the belly. (She loves the laser that much.) She was Moo-Moo at birth, b/c she and her brother reminded me of itty-bitty cows.

This is the cardboard scratcher I made for her. The two other cats like it as well, but it really belongs to her. = )

I made it a little bigger last week, but may enlarge it a bit more tonight. It's big enough, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind a little extra room. (Then Noms can lay comfortably on it as well.)

I didn't get any pictures of her scratching the pad, but she does adore it.

Another view. All three are very good about scratching only the scratching pads and posts. Not sure why, b/c I doubt it's my wonderful "parenting". I think it's luck/having proper scratching pads/posts from the day they were born. The only thing they're tempted to scratch is my uncovered mattress, but that's easy to avoid. Keep the sheets on!!! = )

I was over at http://www.moderncat.net/, reading the posts in the DIY section, where I stumbled across a post on how to make your own scratching pad. I was immediately excited, b/c I really only have sisal pads and posts. I bought two cardboard scratchers, but none for my cats - one was for the parents' cat, the other for my sister's cats. Mellie loved them when they were hanging out in the room, so I knew I should buy her one, but when I saw this post, I knew I could make one.

I'm not very crafty in the art sense. I can't paint, draw, build, sculpt, anything. I can, however, cut cardboard with a utility knife in straight, equal sections. (Go me!) And we always have cardboard boxes at work to recycle, so I knew I could easily obtain the materials. It's funny, b/c when I'm sad or bored or just in the mood, I want to *make* things. Artsy things. But as I mentioned, I am not very artsy-craftsy with the exception of making cards and scrapbooks. And sometimes, you get to the point where cards and scrapbooks just don't do it for you anymore. And making this has been fun for me.
I also made one for Bud-Bud at work. He likes it, the foster cats like it (even without their claws, poor things), and a lot of the boarders like it. I should enlarge that one as well. When I first started cutting the strips from cardboard, I was thinking, "I could make ten of these!!!" But as with everything, I go at a slow pace. I always feel the need to multi-task. I'll be measuring and cutting while watching a movie, then forget about the cardboard in my hands for a half hour. So it takes me a couple days to finish. And then I get a bit lazy, so I leave it for a couple weeks before I *actually* finish it, making it large enough for everyone. = )
It's fun making useful things. I love that *I* like the way it looks, my *cats* love to lay on it, sit on it, scratch it, etc, and it cost me nothing except for time while watching movies. Also, I like that I can flip it over if it gets worn down. Can't do that with the ones from WalMart. = ) (I need to find more things I can make!)

The Boy Scouts

During the summer, J was hired to work at our hospital's boarding facility. He only worked about two weeks, though, b/c his other job offered him a raise. (Lucky him) He called T a couple of months ago to ask her if there was any way he could help out/volunteer/raise money for our Hope Foundation/feral cat program. He likes to build, so she suggested he make some cat houses. (He's in the Boy Scouts, and needs to do some sort of charity project to make it to the Eagle Scouts)

I was behind the animal hospital a couple weeks ago, trying to rig up some sort of feeding station. I needed something big enough to allow all the cats to eat (they all eat together, usually) and something that will help protect them from wind and snow. Unfortuantely, I have little building skill and little money/resources. So I bought a big plastic tub, with the intentions of cutting a hole in it for a door, but I realized that though the tub is big, it's not big enough for even two cats to eat comfortably. I ended up setting it on its side, using the top as a roof, and weighing it down with a fallen branch. I hauled two tires over from the discarded tire pile next door and used them to support the tub off of the ground.

J scared me by his arrival. Wasn't expecting anyone to show up back there, much less a guy. = ) He had come to take pictures of the area, the cats, and the houses we already have. He helped me roll a couple more tires over to extend the "shelter"'s floor. I showed him our houses, what could be improved upon, and explained what I was trying to do with the tub and tires. He took some pictures, got one of Jehzar in the woods, and then left me to my pathetic attempts at a food shelter. = ) He did offer to build me one, though, after he finishes the houses, which I thought very kind.

I filled the tires with leafy remains to make an extended floor and attempted to camoflauge it a bit with branches and leaves. Then sprinkled some straw over the tub's floor and the tire tops. I have to say, it looks interesting, but all my work really provides nothing in the form of shelter from the wind, rain and snow for the cats. Unless they are right under the tub. I filled a smaller bin full of straw to keep out there, right next to the "shelter." I will use this to layer on top of the snow so they don't have to stand on the cold snow for a lengthy period of time. (An idea from SW, one of the leaders of the group that cares for the RIT cats.)

It is just *so cold* here in the winter. The wind seriously chills me to the bone. Not fun.

I'm looking forward to J's houses, though! We'll probably use one back there, then the others for Tipsy's cats, or other needy ferals.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Hospital Cats

This is Wanda, climbing on the cat tree.

Milton, being very good, and posing for me. = )

He's gotten so much better. Not as freaked out as he was. Go slow, and he *loves* attention.

He was a bit scared here. Kept running away from me. These pictures are all out of order, but this was from a couple weeks ago? I think.

Spending time in the window. He's a lot more comfortable with you approaching him when he's higher up.

Scared of me and hiding. A couple weeks ago as well.

Wanda has always been very friendly. Doesn't much like to be picked up, but loves to be petted. She's very easy-going and a sweetheart.

Close up of the Bud Bud in the deflated cat cube.

What he does all day due to boredom.

Scared. And hiding from me. I'm so glad he's doing better now.

I brought my other wicker basket bed in so that they would both have a spot to rest/hide. My cats had forgotton about it, anyway. I hadn't seen it being used in at least a month. They used to both rush for the hidey spot, but now that they are more accustomed to us, they both feel comfortable in the top perching area as well.

Wanda has a silly-looking face. = ) Makes me smile. Maybe slightly cross-eyed? Just slightly, though.

There is a man who is interested in these two, but we need to figure out why Wanda is having diarrhea before she goes to a new home. We tried Flagyl, didn't work. Put her on Prednisone, and the stool seems to be hardening just a little. It's like pudding now. We're doing a food trial now, with the pred. I'm hoping it's something fixed with the right food, but finding the right food can be tricky.
The man lives with his mom (I think?) and takes care of her two cats. The one was recently put down due to cancer, though, and they don't want the other to be lonely, but are trying to decide if it's too soon to get another. Or in this case, two more. He called me on Sunday while I was working, but we were slow, so I gave him a call back. I decided to try to let him tell me about himself instead of asking him too many questions. He seemed genuine. Told me that he wasn't sure, but would like to visit with them to see how he felt. I told him to come any time we're open. He called back less than a half hour later to see if he could come that day. He did, and Wanda hit it right off with him, b/c she's super like that. Milton hid the entire time. He asked if he could come back the next day. To which I said "of course," of course. = )
I made sure to hold Milton for a few seconds on Monday so that he could pet him without Milton running away. And Milton warmed up quickly. I left them for a few minutes and when I came back, they were both being lovey with him. He spent about ten more minutes with them and left saying he'd talk to his mother about bringing two more cats in. He knows about Wanda's diarrhea issues, so I have to keep him updated on that. He seems like he'd be fine feeding her a special diet, but who wants a cat with chronic diarrhea??? Or, who wants to adopt a cat that has something wrong, but you don't know what? I'm really hoping her problems can be controlled with a specific diet, b/c this man seems like a wonderful person to adopt them.
I don't really know how bonded the two are, but I want to keep them together in case they are. They certainly get along well. He already said that he isn't interested in breaking them up, anyway. I'm glad he's sensitive to something such as that.
We'll see. I think I may call him Friday to see what he thinks/update him on how Wanda's doing. Hopefully better...

My car has abandoned me with selfish notions of dying

My car's check engine light lit up early Monday morning. Took it to the car place next to the hospital on Tuesday. They say the catalytic converter is blocked, needs to be replaced. Which is around $1000, as mine is placed in a different spot than most others'? I don't know much about cars, but I do know that I don't have $1000. Maybe it would be cheaper if I order the part and then have them put it in? Or my dad? I don't know if he can do that, but...

I went to pick my car up this afternoon. My dad said he'll figure something out during these next couple of days. I stopped at the animal hospital to feed the feral cats since it was around noon. It reassures me that they still write "cats" on the noon list on the days I'm not there, but I still worry. It's hard for me to trust people.

I visited Ian for a couple of minutes while there. I was very happy to see that the two foster cats were allowed out. I texted T yesterday, saying if they had time, they should let the two out to spend time with Ian. He really enjoys the company of the other cats, and if he has the chance to spend time with anyone, we should make sure he can. She called me a "dork," but I was pleasantly surprised to see they were let out.

Whenever I mention that Ian is bored and lonely, I'm met with resistance. They either deny that he's bored/lonely, or say something along the lines of "It's better than living at the [insert hoarder's last name]." I don't know if she agrees, but instead of not knowing what to say, this time I said, "It may be better than living in the [hoarder's] squalor, but we can't dismiss the fact that he has emotions. That he's bored. And lonely." I tried to tell her about Ian and Milton playing together, running around, exploring together, to show her that he really does enjoy another cat's company. That he does enjoy more than sleeping and eating. And that that's all he does because he's bored. And lonely. You wouldn't think it would be so difficult to see this, but it's not just T. Everyone in the animal hospital refuses to acknowledge his emotions. That he needs more than a warm place to sleep and good food to eat. We all need more. Nobody wants to be lonely. I think it's so hard for them to realize that Ian needs more because they want to feel as if they've done a wonderful thing by accepting him as a hospital cat. And that's that.

People are complicated. You would think "animal lovers" would be in tune with animals' emotions, with their needs. You would think they would be able to find a way to do a good thing, such as fostering two cats from a hoarding situation, without complaining about it. Without giving the animals a time limit. Without making it seem as if it's even affecting them, when it's really not... I try my best to state what I believe in a non-threatening manner, b/c most people don't respond well to outright criticism, to saying that they're wrong, but sometimes, there's no way to put it gently. B/c they don't listen much, anyway. Haha. People are complicated. Sometimes they need a gentle remonstration of their views, sometimes they need a more firm opposition. But in my experience, arguments are never helpful. I've tried arguing. A lot. I don't think it ever helped any situation. Just made me exhausted and self-righteous. = )

I was very happy to see Wanda and Milton out with Ian today, though. Gave me warm fuzzies. = )

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Job Searching

The Lab Technician position is still being debated upon. I emailed to see if they had forgotton about me. It had been more than two weeks and I wanted to make sure that I hadn't gotten the job so I could comfortably move on. Lizz emailed me back yesterday and told me that they are still working on it, and I should know either way by this weekend. It's nice to know, even if I don't get it.

I was called about working at the hospital as a transport assistant last week. Unfortunatyely, he called me during work, so i had to call him back the next day. He didn't answer, so I left a message. He didn't call me back 'til Saturday morning, when I was working again, to say that he was scheduling interviews that day. Called him back, no answer, asked him if there was any other day, as I was working all day. Then finally, the last message: he wanted to know if I could come in after work for an interview. He answered when I called him right before I was about to leave work. He said to just come in and not worry about being in scrubs and smelling of dogs as "it's not a 3-piece suit job" anyway. Okay then.

It went well, was very informal. I'm assuming that he has many other suitable people interested in the job as well, so I can't see why I would get the job over them, but we'll see... The reason I *really* want this job of patient transporting is because I would be in a union. I'm sure there are some negative things about unions, but I would start at a higher rate than most jobs, I would get regular pay increases, and I would get free medical benefits. The people that I met in the break room seemed very easy-going, friendly, like your typical college-age students. I could pick up extra shifts if I wanted and I would get to choose if I wanted more hours if there's an opening, before the general public.

Wouldn't it be great if I got both jobs? Though, they never told me how many hours the lab tech one involves. She said something about "not full days" and "two days of weaning, two days of data, one day of something else." So what's a regular "full" day? Eight hours? So around six hours a day? Five days a week? I think I would choose the transport over the lab, but if I was offered both, it would be awesome if the hours were so that I could take them both. The only thing keeping me at the animal hospital are the boarders, of course. And Ian. And the feral cats.

It's not that I'm unhappy there. But I do feel as if I've reached the limit in what I can learn and offer. Though I consider myself to be more attentive to the animals' needs, I cannot work there forever. Simply put, I can't support myself on their wages alone. Fortunately, most animals that come to the hospital, whether for medical attention or for boarding, are not going to stay there for lengthy periods of time. They'll go home, and life will resume as normal. I worry about Ian, though. Who will give him any attention if I'm not there? Once a week is not enough. He can't be isolated from people and animals like this forever. He loves playing with Milton, the grey foster cat that's there. He loves spending time with other animals. He loves being with people.

I was thinking that when I moved out, if I made enough money to buy his food, I would try to take him with me. But if I move in with Michele, she already has three cats. And I don't think T's mom would want me to bring in *another* cat on top of six cats. Moving in with Michele seems like the easy thing to do. She needs a roommate, we like each other, keep to ourselves, work a lot... The cats would be interesting, but we're not stupid. We wouldn't throw them together right away. Anyway, I don't know what to do about Ian if I leave the hospital. Or the cats...