Wednesday, December 22, 2010


WARNING: this post is little depressing.

As a senior in highschool, I acquired an orange cat named Sammy. My mom's friend had taken in Sammy when her pastor had moved away, but the female cat of the house, Mittens, dominated the household. Sammy ended up staying in the basement. He was free to come upstairs whenever he desired, but would only venture upstairs at night.

I remember sleeping over at her house when he was there - he would always come upstairs and sleep on my chest. I thought he was the sweetest cat in the world - and he really was.

We brought Sammy to our house the Christmas of '04. I was so excited to have a cat - the only cat I had ever had was in childhood. His name was Bustafer (I really don't know how to spell that - it was from the musical Cats). My mother told me that we had to get rid of him b/c I was allergic to him. I found out a couple of years ago (from my dad) that she got rid of him simply b/c he was a kitten, climbing on things, tearing things up. I was never allergic to cats, something I believed until I was 21. We won't digress into the multitude of my mother's lies right now.

Unfortunately, life for Sammy wasn't much better at our house than it was for him at Pam's. My mother insisted that he be kept down in the basement b/c of the litterbox and for fear that he'd scratch the furniture. I was not comfortable in basements, so I would bring him up to my room when she wasn't looking. I fought with her often, b/c although I knew little about cats, I knew it was wrong to keep ANY animal away from loving contact with other animals, including us humans. Happily, I found out later that my sister, in attempt to get away from our overbearing mother, spent a lot of time down in the basement, watching television. Sammy was the kind of cat that would push himself onto your lap, forcing attention from you. She gave him a lot of affection during that time.

We only had Sammy for a few months. One night, he started crying, and I knew something was wrong. You know how you know instinctually when something is really wrong? Well, I knew. I told my mother, "There is something wrong wth Sammy. He's crying - we need to take him to the vet!" But she, of course, said that he would be fine, and that maybe we'd take him in the morning if he was still crying.

We watched the movie Hotel Rwanda that night. Not only was the movie horribly heart-wrenching, but I was worried about Sammy the whole time while watching it. As much as I tried to convey to my mother that there was something wrong with Sammy, she just wouldn't listen. As soon as the movie was over, I ran downstairs to bring Sammy up to my room for the night. But he was already dead. He died in the litterbox.

I remember screaming, running away, hiding in the bathroom for the rest of the night. My uncle came to take his body away.

It's hard losing a beloved animal, but even harder when you have an emotionally abusive mother, an absent family, your childhood dog was put to sleep a year ago, your best friend taken from you - in essence, when you have no one, it's really difficult to deal with another loss. Especially of such a loving animal as Sammy was. He deserved better.

I have no pictures of Sammy.

The cat above is a stuffed cat filled with those tiny beads - you know the pillows that are so fun to squish? I saw him in Bed Bath and Beyond and had to have him as he reminded me of Sammy. This stuffed cat went through a lot of squishing and being cried upon for a few years. He then spent a couple years with my baby sister. Recently, however, I took him back with me, b/c Brianna has way too many stuffed animals, as many little kids do. And now Smidge likes to lay on him. I'll have to get a picture of that - it's cute.

Although I've learned from Sammy's life, he deserved so much more. I now research everything. I try to provide the best possible life for my pets. I don't let other people make decisions for me, and I certainly go with my instincts.

I wish I believed in some sort of afterlife - it would be so much easier picturing Sammy in some sort of Spirit world, chasing the butterflies... Well, who knows? Maybe he is.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kitty Crib

While at the thrift store, I saw this little bed. I knew immediately that I had to buy it for my cats. I was just going to put a fleece blanket in it, but then realized that those cardboard scratching things would fit perfectly! The blanket underneath is just keep it from slipping. The bed is the new favorite spot!

Domino on the baby-doll bed, while Mellie looks on from my bed. My bed is on the floor - I had a bad experience with the ET movie as a kid. A relative had gifted my sister and I comforter sets for Christmas when I was about four or five. My sister got cute kittens. I got monsters. No lie. These things had three eyes, four arms, antennae, etc. They were weird enough, but after ET, every time I hopped into bed, I thought of scary ET and his nasty fingers reaching up from under my bed to grab me and take me to the underworld with him. So I would lie perfectly still in the middle of the bed, hoping his hands couldn't reach me, asking my sister to talk to me until I fell asleep. Everyone else I've told laughs, saying, "But ET is so cute!" Uh, no. He wanted to eat me when I was little. Not cute. So now, my bed is on the floor. No more ET. He got squashed.

Domino says something unintelligible.

Mellie steals the bed from Noms...

And claims it, of course. Mellie thinks everything belongs to her. And it does, because she pushes everyone out of her way to get her way. She even smacks me when she wants my food! Naughty!

Friday, November 19, 2010


As much as I can tell, there is one black cat left to be spayed at the Tipsy colony. There are a couple of cats that make their way over to the Hostess bakery thrift shop a couple buildings down, but I have a hunch that they are all from this Tipsy colony. I have spoken to a woman who sets some food out over there for them - she says she has seen one black and white cat with a tipped ear, one black cat with a tipped ear, and one tabby young adult. I believe that the tabby is spayed as well (there is only one tabby in this colony, who very well happens to be around 6-8 months old...), but I will go over to make sure.

I was going to try to trap the last black cat on Tuesday, but some unknown person had already laid out a *lot* of food. The cats had no interest in me with their stomachs already full.

But I couldn't leave. Because one of the black and white cats was dead in the middle of the road. Animals killed by vehicles generally activate a grief response, no matter how many dead animals I pass by. But this cat was from this colony that I have been trying so long to finish TNRing. This cat was in my car at some point. Was spayed or neutered at our hospital. Is probably somewhere in my pictures.

Making that connection with a dead animal in the middle of a busy road just immobilized me. I think I sat in my car staring at the body for a half hour, not able to turn the car on or decide what I should do. I remember thinking to myself, "you need to put the keys back in and leave." But I couldn't move my arm to pick up the keys.

My dad ended up texting me, to see if I was coming over, which basically snapped me out of my inability to move. I drove back to the hospital to get a cadaver bag and some gloves so I could remove the cat from the road. But when I came back, the cat was gone. Someone else must have picked him/her up.

I was wondering, why do we not want to leave the bodies of people we loved or animals we cared about? Why does it feel like abandonment? Or maybe we simply don't want to accept the reality of the death?

I'm always afraid that when grief overwhelms me like that, I won't be able to find my way back to happiness.

But I'm a lot stronger than I used to be. Not that these things hurt any less. I'm just stronger.

And that helps.

I don't know if I will ever know exactly which cat it was in the road. But I do know that it was a horrible death. And I am one cat away from making sure no more babies are born to this colony in this particularly dangerous area for feral cats. Busy roads, little shelter, teenage boys, unwelcoming business owners... This is no safe place for such a large colony. I'm glad that the baby makers are almost all out of business here.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Last B&W Male (I Believe)

Remember how I just let this guy eat out of my trap b/c I thought I got all the black and white cats? Well, he is now neutered. I believe there may be just one black female cat left. Maybe 2 black cats, but it is hard for me to tell... I know for sure that the one female has a small sprinkling of white on her upper chest.

I am so excited that this colony is almost done! It has taken me forever, but is very worth it! No more babies! Healthier cats!

Speaking of health, the first couple of black cats I brought in had large wounds around their eyes, from fights, I would assume... And several were extremely thin, with clumpy coats. All of the cats seem so much healthier now! Their coats look better. They seem less skinny. And I have not seen any of the cats with large, bald patches of red, smooth skin around their eyes. Yay!

After finishing this colony, I have to go a couple buildings down to the Hostess Bakery outlet. I have been told that there are a few cats over there. They might have been from the Tipsy colony... One woman mentioned that she has seen a couple of them walk back and forth between the two areas...

And maybe the police station after that...

And a random thank you to Strayer for constant inspiration! I seem to go back and forth with many blogs, but I always make sure to read hers! You can't get more devoted to spay and neuter than she is!!! Thank you! = )

Friday, October 15, 2010

Right on my street

(Noms in the bookcase)

So there is this black and white cat that looks similar to my Noms that I've seen under my dad's van at night... And just generally on our street. Well, my dad's street.

Anyway, I got a call from a woman looking to get a cat neutered. She takes care of five feral cats, has recently had an addition and wants to make sure he's sterilized and healthy. She's super nice, has even told the neighbors that they need to get any cats they feed fixed so it doesn't become a problem. And guess where this is? On my dad's street! I just thought it was funny. Turns out the Noms look-a-like is one of hers. Good to know!

I'm going to be lending her a trap if she decides to go with our program... And giving her the rest of my straw, most likely. I've used as much as I can at the three colonies (Wendy's, Tipsy's, the hospital's), but still have at least half a bale (bale?) of straw left. Too much straw! Makes me itchy...

Speaking of itchy, I have realized recently that certain dogs with short, prickly fur give me hives. Odd. Like contact hives, if there's such a thing? Just little bumps where their fur poked into me... Weird...

Okay, seriously, good night! = )

Rain, rain, go away

I returned the male cat to Tipsy's tonight. The vet who performed his surgery told me that this cat is probably one of the main baby-daddies. Haha. No more, though! He was a big boy, definitely!

It was raining steadily all throughout the day and the pavement is like a lake in that one area by the dumpsters. Fortunately, I had thought to wear boots, but I still ended up getting soaked.

I didn't want him to have to run through the lake, so I crossed over to the path between the fences. I wanted him to be able to find a dry area to rest in without getting drenched first. But when I made my way to the path, I realized that even though there are more shelters available to the cats, they're still using that broken dog house. I saw two b&w kittens and the grey cat poke their heads out when I released the recently-neutered kitty.

And it broke my heart, because the top of that dog house is lopsided, cracked, and a chunk is missing from the side. (I believe the skateboarders beat this house up) The rain just falls right in, getting the straw and the kitties wet.

A volunteer from Habitat from Cats had suggested clear shower curtains as a good alternative to brightly colored tarps that draw attention, so I immediately made my way to good old WalMart to buy a clear curtain. (Well, not immediately - I totally checked the dollar store and the Goodwill first, but they had no plain, clear ones...) After I purchased the curtain I drove back to Tipsy's to cover the dog house.

It took me a while to cover it to my satisfaction, but I finally succeeded. The tree branches that surround the house made it a little difficult to get around, but I was able to keep my balance and not break an ankle by falling off the ledge onto the pavement below. Go me! I hope that it stays on okay. I also brought more straw to replace the wet stuff.

Too much rain. Somehow, my jeans got soaked during this process. And I had straw in my hair, on my boots, in my sweatshirt sleeves... And then I had to go grocery shopping looking like a hobo. Ah, but I survived. = ) At least that house will stay dry.

Sleep well!

#23 from Tipsy's

Black male cat, being neutered right now. He will be returned later tonight.

Same boy. I have to say, it takes a lot of concentration to figure out which black cats are the ones without tipped ears, and which ones go under the drop trap. I get all confused, because there are several black cats similar in size - I have to track their steps!

Last week, I was under the impression that there are only a couple of black cats left to be trapped and altered. I was definitely wrong. Eating under my drop trap was a neutered black cat and this guy. I wasn't even paying attention to the b&w cat! They were eating (and centered under the trap perfectly, too, of course) for a solid five minutes. As this guy walks out, stomach now full, I realized that his ear is most definitely not tipped! Can't believe I did that! Then he walked a couple feet away from the drop trap and rested under the bushes.
I tell myself I was just getting him used to eating under the drop trap. Well, now I know - at least one more black cat, maybe two -and definitely one more black and white cat!
The cats just got new digs, too! Tracy and her husband brought over some beautiful houses for the kitties. I am hoping - desperately - that the boys who like to destroy stuff will leave these houses alone. That they won't notice them, or will just, simply, leave alone. Right now, though, it is nice to know that they have some better protection from the cold and snow than before. Or, at least, *more* protection. They did have some good houses, but as we've found out, there are many more cats than thought previously.
I have also been feeding the cats at Wendy's this week. The caretaker went on vacation, asked me to feed them some wet food in the evenings.
There is a black and white friendly cat there. Not sure if he is owned or not, but may get him neutered anyway, since he's over there. We can check for a microchip, but it's not likely he has one. I haven't really been trapping over at Wendy's, because if the caretaker doesn't help me get that one momma cat, there's really no end in sight. And I don't feel like wasting my time for no end.
But I still feel bad for the cats, so I probably will end up trying to control the population anyway. I don't want it to get out of control again, with all those kittens running around. But I just don't get why she's not trying to help, b/c obviously, the new kittens just become more adults to feed! And that's expensive! And seriously, that one cat only trusts the caretaker - I can't get her to come around when I'm there. So she does need to help this girl out!
Oh, and I got a sweet compliment the other day. Tracy was showing me the new houses, and telling me about the cats in Greece she's trying to get spayed and neutered. She said that at first she was overwhelmed, but that I encouraged her to find a way and place to get them fixed. And that she thought, "well, if Susannah can do it, why can't I?" And that made me happy, because that's what we need! We can't ask someone to do it for us - we have to get it done ourselves! It may be slow going, but if we don't do it, who will?
Power to the people! Hahaha.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tipsy cats

This was one of the first males neutered here. I have seen him out in the open a lot more since his neuter. Not that it's a good thing... This particular area is not good for these cats, especially with the teenage boys going through the fence to skateboard on the other side. I'm sure most of the boys are relatively harmless, but some of them like to mess with the shelters and food/water. Just the other day, a woman had given us a plastic tub at the hospital, which I couldn't find a use for, so I brought it over here to cover the water. I was hoping the water would stay clean longer being covered, but the little asshats (oops, sorry) took the bin. Come on! It's a plastic bin! Leave it alone!

Another woman who feeds the kitties has set some plastic shelters over here recently, which were stolen... I'm assuming it was a skateboarder, but sorry for jumping to conclusions if it wasn't... But still. It's a plastic shelter! Back off!

Can't really do anything. Maybe we need to bolt these babies to the ground? Haha. Make them really heavy with bricks on the bottom?

Spayed female kitten. Doing good so far...

Black and white male again. Some branches were left by the dumpsters, which the cats seem to enjoy...

Peeking out. I was trapping this day, so these guys were all waiting for some food, while I was waiting for someone to wander under the drop trap.

Grey male neutered a couple weeks ago.

This black kitty was the unfortunate one who went for the food under the drop trap and was almost trapped, but escaped. Well, I guess we were both unfortunate. I pulled the string prematurely. While his head was not in the bowl. I have learned my lesson, but I dearly hope this cat will forget what happened. B/c he needs to be neutered. The first spayed female from this colony is waiting in the background...

Black and white kitten neutered a couple weeks ago...

This cat is not spayed.

She is one of at least 2 black cats that need to be trapped and altered. I'm thinking there might be 3 or 4 black cats left unaltered... So hard to tell with the black ones!!!

Here are the two black cats I know of that are not spayed/neutered.

This is one of the fixed black cats, but I can't really tell which cat it is. There are 7 adult black cats that we've altered so far. The other three were kittens...

Grandma cat. Telling me to hurry up, give her some food.

I waited around for a couple hours, hoping to get one of the black cats... But only got the black and white adult in the end. I really wish I had been patient with the one black cat!

Not sure if there are any more black and white adults left to be trapped. I had thought previously there were... We'll see... It's comforting to see so many tipped ears, though!

20, 21, 22

Black female spayed last week. Vet said she was lactating. We are on the lookout for kittens. I hope to be able to get them into homes if there are any... She is the 20th cat to be TNR'd here...

Black and white female spayed today. At least 2 yrs old.

Female in the trap before release.
Also neutered a black male kitten on Wednesday, same age as the others: 5-6 months old. He might have been the last kitten... Not sure. If there are any more kittens to be trapped, it would be a black kitten. I can tell a lot more easily with the black and white ones, since they have slightly different markings...

Friday, August 27, 2010

3 more Tipsy cats fixed this week

Forgot to take pictures of the cats in the traps again... The little tabby kitten was trapped using the drop trap and spayed on Wednesday. She looked pretty good according to her age and weight. Good thing, compared to the two black kittens that were neutered several weeks ago.

Tabby kitten walking away. I saw her when I went over a day later to trap again - she looks good so far!

The only grey cat in the colony was trapped by drop trap as well. He was neutered Wednesday as well. He is pretty healthy looking as well.

Very vocal male kitten, neutered today. I lent a trap to a friend, who happened to show up right before I trapped this guy. He would *not* budge from the drop trap! Most cats zoom out the door, thinking they can escape, but this guy wanted nothing to do with it! He just lay under the drop trap and meowed at me. We had to prod him into the transfer trap. It broke my heart to return him today. He is definitely the most friendly and least timid of the kittens.

Little man makes 19 of the cats spayed and neutered from the Tipsy colony. There may be 2 more kittens to be trapped, and at least 5 adults. The last adults are proving the hardest to lure in. I may have to call each person that feeds and ask them to not feed on a certain day so I can trap with better success.
There are so many people feeding these cats now! Maybe that's why they're looking a little better!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Haven't been posting, but still working!

Two more males from Wendy's were trapped: one, an all grey shorthair, the other, a grey and white longhair. I have been in such a rush that I completely forgot to take pictures, but let me tell you - they look exactly like their siblings. Both were around six months old, which would makes sense, as we spayed their sisters a couple months ago... Mama still needs to be trapped...

And I know that there is/was a black female, with some black kittens, but I haven't seen her or her kittens in a while. And certainly haven't trapped any black cats in that area yet!

I trapped two cats over at Tipsy's yesterday. Had to use the drop trap, because the cats are just not going in the traps anymore. The remaining cats are too smart. I trapped the little tabby kitten right away, then waited two and a half hours to finally get another cat. And I trapped the grey adult cat! Yay!

Several of the unfixed adult cats seem to know that it is not in their best interests to go under the trap. And I had to keep shooing the groundhogs away, which was not only annoying, but the cats would run away as well... And those cats just lay there, watching me. If I only I had a dart gun or something!!! Haha.

The two cats will be spayed today. I'm hoping that they will be ready to go back early this evening, as a friend wants to borrow one of my traps...

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Two females from Tipsy's

3-5 month old kitten spayed today. She was around 4 lbs, I believe, a little healthier than the last kittens spayed and neutered.

Female around 8 months, weighed 5.5 lbs... They said that this little girl hasn't had a litter yet. I'm just grateful that she won't have to experience bringing any babies into a world that isn't safe for them. The techs said both girls looked healthier than the other cats that have been brought in from this colony.
They will be spending the night and released tomorrow morning.
Every time I go there, I see the same main cats that hang out in the open - all with untipped ears. Fortunately, we're making a dent in their numbers (and previously spayed and neutered more timid cats are actually being seen a bit more as well), but it's funny how the same several less skittish cats are the ones not getting trapped. I have a feeling that this is due to being able to eat out in the open. The ones that are too shy are more hungry and are therefore more likely to be trapped.
I'll have to try for them with the drop trap when I have a little more time. Right now, I am content to be able to fill the spots with any of these cats!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

MISSING! then back.

We had some yard work done around the hospital last week. They removed the trees and bushes that were growing through the fence. And now there's a definite pathway all around the hospital. I miss the trees - the fence looks so vulnerable now! I swear, the trees were holding it all together!!!

Anyway, Stranger & Company went missing for several days. We feed them every day at noon. They all come out to meet us, especially Jehzar, the orange and white kitty (he runs through the fence to greet us as if that will encourage us to put the food down for him). And they will finish their food within 15 minutes. Not so when there are trees being chopped down.

I was a little sad to see that they had piled a great load of chopped branches onto the cats' stick pile that they nest in, but they're probably having more fun with it than I suspect.

It was a little worrisome, because the cats disappeared for almost a week! And didn't even eat their food overnight! I thought they might have packed up and left for good! And although they're not my pet cats, I care extremely about these guys. They've become "our" feral cats, part of the animal hospital's picture.

Anyway, I hoped that they were just hiding from the tree-cutting man. I'm sure it was loud and unsettling. But, after being away for 5 or 6 days, all kitties made their appearance again. Torrini was looking a little thin last time I saw him, though... Hope he's okay! They better be sharing the food properly!

Returning the three black Tipsy cats today! Enjoy the start of your day!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

3 black Tipsy cats fixed today

(all-black female, around 8-10months, I think. Very small, only 4.4 lbs.)

After several weeks break due to family medical issues and car accidents, I have been finally able to venture back to trapping. I may only be able to do one day a week, as I have to take care of my little sister on Thursdays and Fridays, but I hope to find others to fill those spots in... When I went yesterday to trap, I only intended on trapping one. I usually set the traps, pray for someone to take the bait, and listen/watch for the sound of the trap closing and the cats scattering. Because of the boys, I was checking the traps every 15 minutes - to make sure they weren't messing with anything.

(tiny all-black male around 4-5 months old, but only 2.7 lbs. Way too little for his age.)

Because I heard the sound of skateboarding, I climbed under the fence and let them know that I was trapping the cats to be spayed and neutered. I basically just wanted them to know that I was there, that I knew they were there, and that I was going to be staying around. They left probably a half hour later. When they did, I made sure to meet them at the opening so they would know that I was checking on my traps and that I had seen each one of them. These boys looked younger than the ones I saw the other day. I hope that by hanging out at random times, they might realize they're not as anonymous as they'd like to be. I obviously can't intimidate them, but they probably don't want to be seen, and now they have been. I really want to take a couple more shelters over to this area, but I really don't want them destroyed. It makes me angry enough already, without the houses being my work and effort in placing them there!

(slightly bigger all-black male, 4-5 months old, but still only 3.7 lbs. So skinny it's heartbreaking.)

When the boys left, the traps were empty. 15 minutes later, each trap contained a small black cat. I'm just glad I didn't have any more! I only had one spot, but fortunately, they were able to squeeze them all in today. I thought the cats were younger since they are so little, but since they are already 4-5 months old, I wouldn't feel comfortable if someone brought them in hoping to "normalize" them. Because it's probably not going to happen.

These guys will be returned tomorrow, not today, as it has started to pour. Also, the last neuter wasn't long enough ago for me to be comfortable in returning them. I just don't want the rain to interfere with the ear-tip, Revolution, or glue/sutures. Better safe than sorry. Who wants to be out in this rain anyway? I gave them some wet food tonight and will take them back home tomorrow morning, if it has stopped raining...
14 cats spayed and neutered from this colony now! And so many more to go! I just hope we're making some headway!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

And then people started getting sick...

The day I moved out, my sister was taken to the hospital for a couple days. (She's all better now, though, no worries) The day I was going to drive down to visit her in the hospital, I rear-ended a young man in a Land Rover. No damage to his car, just some red paint on the hitch, but I have to have my light and fender replaced. I just hope the collision didn't damage any of the internal parts. It was a horrifying experience. After it happened, I just sat there. I didn't think to turn off my car (I don't even remember if I put it in park). I sat there in shock, thinking, "What the hell just happened?"

Well, what happened was there was a shirt in the road. I thought it was a larger animal, like a dog. As I drove past it, I realized it was an article of clothing, and I remember thinking, "Oh, good, it's just a shirt." And then I slammed into the Land Rover.

The young man said that he and a semi had stopped pretty abruptly in front of a car wash/gas station, so that must have happened as soon as I glanced over to look at the black shape in the road.

Although this has cost me several hundred dollars so far, I am thankful for several things:
1. I didn't hurt anyone.
2. I didn't hurt myself.
3. I didn't damage his car.
4. My car is so far okay, only superficially damaged, to my knowledge...
5. We didn't have to report it, because the guy I rear-ended had no damage.
6. My dad was only 10 minutes away. = )
7. The police officer was a decent man.

Unfortunately, I couldn't go to visit my sister that day, because we weren't sure if my car was drivable.

That was a Thursday. That Sunday, my father was ambulanced to the hospital for having a seizure in his car in the parking lot of WalMart. Somehow, both shoulders were dislocated, one is broken, he can't drive for a year (because of the seixure), and he can't take care of the baby (because he's not physically capable of changing a diaper, picking her up, etc.).

These last two weeks, I've been doing nothing but working, sleeping, and spending every spare moment over at my parents' house. What a time to move out, huh?

Two days ago, I went over to the cats to refresh their water (don't worry, I haven't neglected them) and met one of the skateboarding boys. These are the boys that are allegedly destoying the houses and hurting the cats. I say allegedly because though I do believe it about the houses, I don't want to accuse them of more... There's definitely something fishy about the boys, because, well, I'll start at the beginning:

I got out of my car with the water and headed to the pathway between the fences. As I approached, I heard a scuffling sound. I thought it was an animal getting into the food, and I wanted to let it know I was coming so that it could run away. So I loudly started with "Hello? Hello!" To my surprise, a boy answered back. I then didn't want him to think I was sneaking up on them, so I tried to position myself so he could see me. One of the first things he said was "we're not hurting the cats, we're just skateboarding." To me, it seems that he either knows someone that has been hurting them and the houses or he has been involved in it.

He asked me if I'm the one that feeds the cats. I told him no, I just come over to give them water, because the puddles are nasty. He started saying something about how they (the boys) always have water with them and they could give them some.

I let them know when I was leaving. I knew I didn't want to ask them about the houses being destroyed, because honestly? There's little point.

As I was leaving, a woman ran up to my car, asking me about the boys, the cats... Telling me more stories than I wanted to hear... Turns out she's from Habitat for Cats, and comes to feed the cats every now and then? I told her I just do the water, and that I trap when there's time at the hospital. She asked if I was on good terms with the guys. Haha. I told her I just met them, and no, I don't think there's much point in confronting them about the damaged/stolen houses and possible animal abuse. Nothing I say will have an effect. Police involvement won't either. I'm afraid they'd just retaliate. And I don't need that on my conscience.

When I was getting ready to turn my car back on to go pick up the pizza and head back to my dad's, the woman who took the two kittens pulled in with food and water. I'm not sure what the woman from HfC said to her (probably the same stuff as she said to me), but she did tell her to call the police on the boys. As soon as I saw her on the phone, I told them I had to leave. I can't be involved with calling the cops on the boys, because the cops can't do anything. They have no evidence.

Yes, they could tell them to stay out of that area, because it isn't public property, but they'll find a way. And they'd probably come back specifically to hurt the cats.

I also don't need the guys thinking I called the police on them, because they probably only saw me that day. I saw the one guy's face, and he saw mine.

I wish now that I had climbed under the fence and met all the guys face to face. And explained to them what I am trying to do for the cats. They wouldn't care, I know, but instead of trying to get them to stop, maybe it would help if I could show them why I'm trying to help.

People do things in groups they would never consider alone. I'm hoping this is what this is. I am sad about the cats and their shelters, but also for the boys. Doing such horrible things takes a terrible toll on the soul. I'm not trying to sound hokey, but evil rips people into pieces. Evil makes it so you can't be whole.

I'll admit, after being terribly depressed about this situation, I thought "I'm not going to be able to go back. I can't deal with this." But the day after, I felt more in control of my emotions. I will keep on trying to get these cats spayed and neutered. I will keep up with their water. I will try to meet these guys. In the daylight, of course. Maybe I'll go buy some pepper spray. = )

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Hospital Lady

K from RIT finally trapped one of the two cats she's been after last night! She brought "Wooly" in this morning. Yay! Now she just has one more she needs to trap over there!

I had no time to be trapping b/c of moving - which I hope to finish tonight (it's super hot, so we're waiting until the evening). I have a couple more pieces of furniture to take over. Mellie and Noms are doing okay, but Smidge refuses to come out of her box. Noms has been eating and drinking, Mellie used the litter box, but I haven't seen Smidge since last night. I made sure she couldn't get squished by boxes before I left, but I'll let her take her time.

A few weeks ago, I met a woman at the hospital (the human one) who started talking about the cats that she feeds outside. She said she found a home for one, but the other she just feeds and provides shelter for, since he's an in-betweenie. I told her that if she happened to reside in our town, and if the cat is strictly outdoors, we could probably help her. I gave her my name and phone number and told her to call me when she was feeling better.

Fast forward to this morning. The woman called the hospital to see if she could get the male cat seen for an abscess on his face. She told them that she had heard about our program through me and was wondering if we could help her with the cat. She was able to get the cat into a carrier and brought him in this morning. The girls up front asked me what I knew about this woman and I told them: she's nice, she feeds a couple cats outside, she lives in our town, she wants to get them fixed, and I gave her my phone number to call me so we could work something out when she was feeling better.

They decided to feel the situation out and see if she had any intentions on keeping/rehoming the cat, which is why I told her to give me a call first - needed a little more info. But the circumstances are the same - she won't be finding this guy a home, but will be taking care of him as an outdoor cat. They decided to process the cat as a feral cat, then, and treat his abscess while under anesthesia. Fortunately, the RIT feral was the only surgery for the morning, so the Dr. had time to neuter this guy as well. He also got his vaccinations (rabies and distemper), flea/worm treatment, and his left ear tipped.

As I told the woman previously, we go by donation only. When asked if she would like to make a small donation to our program to help more feral cats, she made a check out for $200! We were all so pleasantly surprised by this unexpected generosity! Especially when it was just one cat involved!

I love getting wonderful surprises like this!

Have a great day, everyone!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Moving Day

I'm moving out today!!!

I'm actually not that excited. I like the safety of living with my parents. I like knowing that my family will be here when I come home. But there's not enough room for the four of us here. With four cats. So I and my three cats are moving out today. I just hope that I will feel comfortable in my new place over time, since I will be sharing it with a girl I used to work with, but hardly know.

I have most of my stuff moved out - it's really just the furniture left. My new room is smaller, so I don't know how it's all going to fit! Also, it may take a couple days to get my computer set up. How will I survive? = )

On my way to take a carload of clothes and random stuff over to my new house, I saw a dead animal in the road. The animal was terribly mangled, but looked as if it had been black. I believe it was a cat.

If the animal had been on the side of the street, or even if the street was not so busy, I would have pulled over. But traffic is crazy here, and the dead animal was in the middle lane of a regular four-lane highway/street.

When I turned around to go back to my parents' house (can't say "home" anymore! *cries*) I slowed down while passing (hard to do when there's so many cars going 50mph, but I tried), and I do think it was a black cat, possibly with some white. Makes me so sad to think of this animal being killed in such a way. No one deserves such a death.

I won't even know if it was one of the cats from the bar/photo studio, since they don't really show their faces.

In our fast-paced world, we obliterate everything. Animals, plants, land, sea, air - everything.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A post of thought

I've been accused of caring more for animals than humans. All "animal-lovers" have been accused of this. But this is absurd to me. We who care for the helpless non-human animals are the same ones who care for the most helpless of our own species. We simply have different paths.

I watch a documentary about the lack of clean water in many areas of this world, and my heart breaks. I see the homeless walking the streets, rummaging through the trash cans for recyclable bottles, and my heart breaks. I read about the transgendered female murdered by her male friends when they found out she was a biological male, and my heart breaks. I hear about the 3 month old baby stabbed to death by an angry father, and my heart breaks.

Does your heart break? I bet so.

But what about the ones who accuse us of caring more for "animals" than for those of my species? Those who are not able to see the similarity in all of our paths of hardship - do their hearts break for the homeless? The hungry? The oppressed? So maybe, it all comes down to empathy. If your heart can't be affected by that homeless man, or that starving dog, maybe you simply don't understand the connection. What is the difference between a homeless man returning discarded bottles for money and a dog overturning garbage cans in search of food? The species. One is a man and one is a dog. Otherwise, their paths are the same. They are trying to survive. And THAT is what I care about. The survival. The dog wants to live as much as the man. In our desire to survive, we are all the same.

When I advocate for TNR of stray and feral cats, it's not because I simply like cats. It's because I have a respect for life. It's because I understand the struggle to survive. It's because I can empathize with the oppressed.

Nobody has the right to tell me that I am wrong to direct my life towards alleviating one particular species' hardship. I care about the afflicted and the oppressed REGARDLESS of species. I've been asked "Why are you spending all your time trying to help cats when there are starving children in this world? Aren't the children more important?" Um, not to be facetious, but have you brought them food? Hmm? How can you ask me that when you do nothing but sit on your behind and criticize what others are doing to make this world a little better? My life took a turn towards stray and feral cats. Another's life may bring water to the thirsty. Soup kitchens for the hungry. Safe havens for those sold in the sex trade. Education on Pit Bulls. Protection of endangered species. Sex education. Nursing. Therapists.

We are all in this TOGETHER. It sounds SO corny, but just as I cannot do all these things myself, neither can you. I wish I could help clean up the animals in the Gulf, stop circuses from using animals, stop pollution of our water and air, reduce plastic use, ban slaughter of animals for human use, and foster all the needy children in my area, but I can't. I can't do it all. I can't save the world. But I can keep hoping that we will be able to do it together.

I believe we should all take steps to support what we believe in. I won't ever go to a circus that involves animals again. I am researching cruelty-free and vegan beauty products for when my current ones run out. I am getting better at buying food without all the plastic packaging. I don't eat meat and am working on reducing the consumption of other animal products. Although I do not want to have my own children, I plan to foster needy children later on in life. But my life, at the moment, is driven towards spay/neuter of stray and feral cats.

I shouldn't have to explain that I care about ALL life. I shouldn't have to explain that we ALL have different paths. But there will always be people who need to belittle our efforts (in anything), to make us question the point. And though I never have the words in real life, I can write it down: my work in the feral cat colonies comes from my empathy for those who struggle to survive. My empathy relates to ALL animals, humans most definitely included. Had my life thus far not included one person or maybe contained an extra event, who knows: I may have finished college and become a therapist. I would have been on a different path - one that didn't include feral cats. But I would still be this same person who wants to alleviate the struggle of her fellow earthlings, humans and non-humans alike. I would still be me.

*I wanted to give this post a little more thought, but it is late and I am tired. Goodnight. = )

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chicken and sushi

Last week, I brought sushi over to the cats. My step-mom hadn't finished her plate, so instead of throwing it out, I asked if I could bring it over to the feral cats. (I had tried to see if my cats would attempt the raw fish, but they are babies. They didn't even try it.) I'm hoping now that there's nothing in sushi that could harm the cats. It's just rice and raw fish, right? Anyway, this kitty here cracked me up when I saw her go zooming past with a sushi roll in her mouth. I think she wanted to find a place to enjoy her treat by herself.

So today, I brought over some uncooked chicken. My parents weren't going to eat it (and I'm a vegetarian), so my step-mom asked me if I wanted to give it to the feral cats. I forgot a knife, so I just laid out the slabs of chicken breast on a plate for them to enjoy. It made me giggle when I saw the same kitty run past with a piece of chicken dangling from her little mouth. She probably wanted to make sure no one else laid dibs on her piece, so she left to enjoy it by herself.
It's hard knowing what these cats must survive through. But sometimes, they make me smile, like when they sprawl out on the pavement and roll around. And sometimes, they make me laugh, when they run off with special pieces of food so no one else can lay their paws on them. It's a hard life for them out here. But we're trying to make it a little better for them through TNR.

11th Cat from Tipsy's

This black and white cat from Tipsy's was trapped as well today. The kitty will be spayed/neutered tomorrow. Am not even going to guess on gender. = )

Petite cat. Looks thin, just like the rest of them. You know what I want? I want no more babies! Because we're not going to be able to find fosterers for them! So we just need to get these guys spayed and neutered!
I know I've said it before, but there are a lot more cats out here than I first estimated. Out of the 11 cats we've trapped, I've only seen 3 beforehand. Possibly 4, if one of the black cats that used to hang around is just hiding a bit before venturing back out into the open. But that means a lot of these kitties are too skittish to show their faces.
I'll let you know about this cat tomorrow after surgery!

3rd black kitten rescued

This little muffin was trapped today. His sibling didn't leave his side until I came back to get him. I wish I could have gotten him, too!
He went home with the woman who's been trying to get the kittens. She met me at the dumpsters in between the photo studio and the grey building. I showed her how to use the trap again, and let her borrow it so she can go back whenever to try to get the babies. I told her to rig it up so she can control who gets trapped (I don't want to have to keep an adult cat for more than one day). I also mentioned that she might be able to use the baby as bait for the other kittens...
I'm hoping we'll be more successful with removing these kittens from hard lives in this colony! There are still at least 3 kittens, most likely more.
I don't know if this guy is from the same litter as the other two black kittens, taken in by the woman in the grey building who's been helping me trap. Not sure about the ages. But I hope they can be socialized to humans without too much fuss. The woman taking them in hasn't socialized feral kittens before, so I just wrote her a lengthy email with my own and others' advice. If they cannot be socialized, we will have them spayed/neutered and released. I'll just need to keep up on their progress, because if they do not do well inside, I do not want anything else to happen to them...
I just wish the black and white one hadn't been released!!!


I've been moving stuff around, taking some things over to my new place... The Bergan lounger thing fell over during all this, and guess who thought it was meant to be?

I think they mentioned on the site that it could be used upside down. I like it because it's still very stable when flipped over. Mellie likes it, too!

This is a Bergan Pulp Scratch Lounger. I love it because it's only $8.99, and the cats do like to use it. Have not seen anyone use it as a scratching surface, but it's definitely a comfy place to sleep!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The 5th black cat is our 3rd black female

This is our over-heated kitty. I think she's okay - after an hour or two on a cool, wet towel, she seemed back to normal. No more panting.
She was spayed today. And six babies were prevented from entering this world. The doctor said that she was a couple weeks along but that they presented unevenly and would not have all survived.
It's hard, knowing that these babies never got a chance. But at the same time, they wouldn't have had much a chance even if they had lived past birth. We don't even seem to be able to find homes for the 4 or 5 kittens already present in the colony.
Ah, I don't have the answers. My heart is torn on this topic. A life is a life - but is a prevented life the same as an ended one? I'm not really sure, and believe me, I've had the opportunity to debate this issue before. With no conclusions, obviously. Maybe it's best to admit that we don't have all the answers. We just try to do what we feel is best.
I hope that this kitty will be able to live a healthier life now that she is spayed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fire and poison

While transferring the black cat over to my car today, I talked with the woman who's been helping me with the trapping. I asked her about the kittens she's taken in (betwen 5-8) over the years. She said none of them have tested positive for FIV/FeLV, so that's good. Maybe the cats here aren't actively sick, just not super healthy. I don't know. They look rough, though. And thin. BUT, maybe I'm just so used to seeing my plump cats that my opinion is skewed.

I asked her about the houses on the other side of the fence that have disappeared. She says there are teenage boys who like to skateboard over there - and destroy the houses. I guess she outted them for being over there and they retaliated by removing/breaking/setting fire to some of the houses. I just hope none of the cats were hurt. She says she doesn't believe they've touched any of the huts that are between the fences. I hope not, because the cats need places to go!

She also said that the owner of the photo studio poisoned some of the cats a few years ago and bragged about it after throwing their dead bodies over by the dumpsters. I don't even have words for that. People who are capable of such actions have this human/animal separation. Humans are supreme beings, animals "just animals." Pests. Like cutting trees down because they're in the way. And I don't know how to fight that belief with any bit of success. Most people I know are like that. They believe people take precedence over animals merely because they are human and "animals" are not.

Maybe I'll figure out how to combat these beliefs with time. I hope so. Because I hate not knowing what to say that might actually go through someone's defenses of "I am right, you can't touch me, EVER!!!"

Well, goodnight. = )

5th black cat from Tipsy's

I let the Caring Harts for RIT Cats group know that they can have two spots for tomorrow, but to let me know if they're not successful. If they're not, I like to try in the morning for a cat at one of the colonies I've been TNRing. This hasn't really worked so far (in my getting a cat in the morning), but it's worth a try to take adantage of the available spots.

The woman who's been trapping with me at the bar colony trapped an adult cat today, though. So I'm really hoping that RIT only gets one cat... I don't know if they'll have enough time to do more than two. Depends on the gender.

I got a call from the woman who does the landscaping at the photo studio about a feral cat trapped in a cage left out in the heat for over an hour. She actually called the hospital first. They called me, and I told them to give her my number. Not sure how long the cat was left out there, but it was hot. I thought the woman who had been trapping was going to call me, but I ended up having to call her. She said she was going to wait until tomorrow morning to see if we had time... don't know why. I just told her to give me a call as soon as possible - that's definitely helpful!

When I went to pick up the cat, she had him in the car. The windows were rolled down, but I fear that the cat had definitely gotten overheated. I brought him over to the hospital and put him in the cool bathroom over a wet towel. I also slid a small dish of water in there for him/her. Poor cat's tongue was sticking out when I got him, he was so hot! We had a meeting later that afternoon, so I checked on him again, and he seemed much better. I hope no lasting damage occured due to the heat!

Unfortunately, I found out today that the woman helping me had to release the black and white kitten! She was under the assumption that the caretaker was going to take him, but when that didn't work out, she had nowhere for him to go! Same as me, so I don't blame her - I just wish we had more options for these babies! I gave her another woman's number, but it seems that though the people want to be able to take them in, when it comes down to it, they find reasons that they can't. It's regrettable, though, because I think they are at least 8 weeks old now. And if I had known, I would have had the kitten fixed before release. I did let her know, though, that if she doesn't have a place for the kittens, I will have them fixed before we set them back out there. Saves us the trouble of trying to get them later on.

I wonder also if she released the kitten - and didn't hold on to him for a few days to try to find another option - because he is sick. I know that this is the kitten she wanted to bring in for an exam. And when I went to refresh the cats' water today, I saw the poor baby, eyes all gunked up and red. *sigh*

BUT, along with the adult cat, she also got the other black kitten. What she's going to do with that one, I'm not sure, since she couldn't keep the black and white one. Maybe it really was because he's sick?

I heard that the owners of the photo studio are irritated about the caretaker giving milk to the cats, as it's giving them diarrhea. And they're pottying in the studio's backyard. I don't understand the milk thing! Water is essential for cats, milk is detrimental. They do make safe-for-cats milk, though.

Someobody seems to be helping with the water, though. I hope the caretaker is! That would be great.

Anyway, I'll let you know the gender of this black cat tomorrow after surgery, b/c I've no clue! = )

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Return of the Muffin

I did not take any pictures of Stud in the trap. He was very angry. Very feral. He also stunk up the whole hospital. Male cat urine - blech. I'm glad I cautioned the techs about this guy - I guess he was very difficult to anesthetize. Poor guy. I know he must have been so freaked out, not knowing what we were doing to him. But at least he is now neutered.

When I drove over to return StudMuffin, I saw two of our fixed kitties hanging out. It's such a nice feeling to know these guys won't be contributing to any more babies. We've got anywhere between 5 and 10 more cats to TNR at this colony. But we're getting there!
Here's our super friendly male - not enough to be petted, but enough to follow me around! He was neutered less than a week ago. I'm glad to see that he's still around.
I made sure to arrive yesterday around the time the caregiver would be arriving with the food. I knew a bunch of the cats would come out to meet her, and I also wanted to give her a bag of cat food. I've had these two bags of cat food in my trunk for several months without anyone to give them to. I know how expensive it must be to provide for all these cats, though, so I wanted to be able to help, even if it's just two weeks worth of food! I gave the other big bag of food to the Wendy's colony caretaker on Monday night, but more about that later...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

2 more from Wendy's

Matching grey female kitten with a small splotch of white on her chest, trapped last night, spayed today. Talked to the caretaker of this colony - she believe there are 3 more kittens. Glad we're getting these girls early - no more silly babies!

Remember that black and white male I talked about last week? This is him! I love his little goatee. He was neutered today.
When I released him, he ran across the field and then across the street - which is connected right to the highway. Very busy here. I literally gasped out loud when I saw which direction he was running. I was so afraid that a car would kill him, because he certainly wasn't looking! I'm glad I took them back late at night, when traffic isn't bad. And when it's dark.
He obviously hangs out at Wendy's at times, but I'm assuming his "home" is elsewhere. Except for a tabby last year, all have taken off into the field. I don't mind where they come from, as long as they get back in one piece!
I also saw a tabby and white cat the night I trapped these guys. The caretaker hasn't seen her before, so I'm assuming she was just visiting, but hopefully she'll visit some more when I'm trapping!
According to her calculations the regular colony has 3 more kittens and 2 adults needing to be trapped and altered. 1 more kitten belongs to the elusive grey and white momma and 2 kittens belong to a black momma. So, 5 more at this colony. And then all the extra visitors.
We'll get there! Hopefully!


I am watching the documentary "Earthlings" narrated by Joaquin Phoenix.

I have to pause it and take breaks as it is such heart-wrenching content. I have broken down in tears several times now.

No person should be allowed to eat animals or take a pet to the shelter without watching this documentary first.

No person should be allowed to go through life without facing the fact that they are the cause for these beings' tortured existences.

They all say "I don't want to think about it." "I don't want to hear about it." And I get that. I don't either. I want to hide in my closet and never think about it.

But I make myself watch this documentary because I know there is a reason I don't eat animals anymore. And I know there is a reason I want everyone to spay and neuter their pets. And this is why.

Until you see the cows and pigs and chickens resorting to cannabilism, their throats being slit as they are shackled upside down still alive and struggling to be free, being beaten by men who feel so manly and powerful exerting this kind of control - until you watch this documentary yourself, don't let me see you putting that chicken sandwich in your mouth. Until you see the dogs and cats being crammed into a gas chamber that takes 20 minutes of struggling and panic and fear to finally end their lives - don't let me hear of you taking a pet to the shelter.

NOTHING I SAY will ever change a person's view. It's sad, but I know it's true. But a book can. And a movie can. People don't listen to other's words. But they respond to videos. And books. If you don't have the time to read a book, rent a documentary. Rent "Earthlings." You will cry, want to hide, and feel like you'll scream at anyone who ever talks to you again because the content is so disturbing and traumatic. But I cannot take anyone seriously when they tell me I need to support my farmers, or get my calcium/protein, or THAT THEY DON'T EVEN LIKE PIGS. If you want to tell me that using animals for our benefit is okay, watch this documentary and then get back to me. Seriously. I don't want to hear it, because I don't have the right words to defend these animals. And they deserve more than my stumbling efforts. They deserve to have a proper chance at being defended.

So watch "Earthlings" and let me know.

I'm only halfway through it, because it's super late and I need my sleep. I think I will put Narnia or something in to calm me down. After watching the news and hearing about one baby being shot to death, another baby being stabbed to death, and now this documentary, I don't know if I can take the human race anymore. Maybe tomorrow I will be a little more hopeful, but tonight I just want to cry.

Here comes "Studmuffin"

Well, hey there! Who's this? Oh, is that Studmuffin?

I think so! Are you coming over here, sir?

Would you like to be neutered, Studmuffin? I think you've fathered enough babies!!!

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but the cats from this colony look rough. As you can tell in this picture, Stud does not look well-groomed. They've all looked pretty shaggy. And thin. Most of them just don't look healthy. It doesn't seem to be lack of food - the caretaker always leaves a lot of food out. The vet tech supervisor and I were speculating the possibility of FIV/FeLV. But unless a cat comes in looking very sick, we won't be testing. There's really no point, since all we can do to help is spay and neuter to stop the spread of disease, which we're already doing. Even if they did test positive, I wouldn't want them killed just because they have the disease.

So, Studmuffin seems to be quite the gentleman. Here he is waiting patiently as all the girls/younguns chow down.

My little trap with the sliding rear door was set behind the dumpster, awaiting a small kitty. But as everyone was eating, the trap snapped shut of its own accord. No one was even near it. Freaked me and all the cats out. Everyone scattered.

I will admit, I was sitting in my car being a sissy. I was watching them eat, and I didn't want to disturb them, thinking THEY ARE SO HUNGRY AND IT WOULD BE SO MEAN TO SCARE THEM AWAY. But I guess my little trap knew better, because when it snapped shut, it snapped me out of my sissy state. And I got out my drop trap.

After waiting a couple minutes, Stud came back and started eating under the drop trap. I hesitated, because my transfer trap is smaller than the other ones. I didn't want to trap him and have him escape. But I decided to go ahead, since you never know when another chance will come along. After almost escaping by lifting the drop trap up (even with my heavy anchor) and biting a small hole in the netting of the drop trap, I was able to transfer him to the regular trap. He was not happy, but I covered him quickly and took him over to spend the night in the bathroom. He will be neutered tomorrow.

I left a note for the techs - he seems quite feral. Very upset about being trapped. It's always hard to see these cats in the traps. I know they must be so panicked. That's why I don't like keeping them for more than one night. It's not fair if they are that freaked out. But being neutered will be a good thing, Studmuffin!