Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Limpers

When Dr. R came back to the kennel for a visit, I told him about Pickle and Jehzar limping. I wanted to know if there was anything we could do about it. I expected him to say "no" as they are feral and we can't treat them in the typical sense, but surprisingly, he told me that if I trapped them, he would look them over for any wounds/abscesses and give them an antibiotic shot to help them heal. Both have been limping with their left front paws in the air, Pickle more so than Jehzar, however. (Pickle doesn't even want to rest his paw on the ground, as you can see in this picture)

I was hoping to get Pickle in the trap, but Jehzar wandered in. Dr. R looked at his legs and everything, but didn't see anything to be concerned about, so we let him go again. He has been walking almost normally anyway, this past week. I'm hoping to trap Pickle this weekend, because he is still hopping about.

RIT's group brought in two cats this week. I guess everyone was surprised that they donated $40 for each cat. I'm pretty sure that I told them that they wanted to pay the same here as they had been paying at Lollipop, to make sure they weren't taking advantage of what we're doing, but maybe they didn't remember? Or thought they'd change their mind?

Also, another woman contacted Habitat for Cats about the Tipsy colony. I guess she wants to help out with trapping, and may be able to help out financially, as well! Which would be great, of course! = )

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Kate and I went to art therapy today. Except, it wasn't really art therapy b/c everyone had gone elsewhere? So she and I spent the time with two older women, Kate painting, me starting a little book. I've never been in a therapy group sort of thing before - this should be interesting.

After the art therapy, we went back to her house, where I looked up Jefferson Veterinary Hospital to find out their next available appointments. Kate and Jake ended up bringing the sick kitty home with them to get her some proper vet care. They decided that they would keep her if healthy (i.e. negative for FIV/FeLV) and rehome her if positive. (They already share their house with another cat, Gabby.) Jake determined that if the cat is theirs, he doesn't mind spending the money on vet bills to get her healthy. It just makes me *so* happy that someone is taking responsibility for this poor cat.

She's looking pretty shabby, this cat is. Patches of scabby, hairless skin due to fleas and scratching. Sluggish, not very responsive, and all the other things I mentioned in my previous post. BUT, I made an appointment for Kate and Jake to be seen tonight. I found out that Jake was pretty worried about her as well, too. He didn't want to get attached to her before knowing if she was too sick or not, though. So I took Kate and the cat over to meet Jake at the animal hospital and called a couple hours later for an update.

"Barb" (her old name, not being kept, however...) is negative for both FIV and FeLV (yay!), and is scratching so much b/c of flea bites that got infected. I guess she had an allergic reaction to the fleas? (I forget the actual name he used for the condition) She's a bit anemic (due to the fleas, most likely) and a bit malnourished. They were given some proper flea meds and some fiber stuff (?) to firm up her stool. The Dr. thinks she's just very run down and needs a little tender, loving care. They go back in a month for a check up and are out to get a kitty shirt/sweater to keep her from scratching/biting any further at her scabs.

Gabby, their resident cat, goes in a couple of weeks to get her shots, tested for FIV/FeLV, and to be spayed. It's about time, too! = ) When the new kitty is healthy again, she will go back to get her vaccinations and surgery as well. I'm really hoping that after the girls are spayed, they will get along together. Until then, they will be kept separate.

I really like the Dr. that they went to. He's a bit goofy, but super nice, and his prices are definitely more affordable than some of the surrounding vets in this area (including the one I work for). I took my cats there when they were kittens, for their vaccinations and surgeries. I only switched when I started working at Companion, b/c of the pet benefits I receive. When I am not working there, I will probably switch back over.

Everyone send this kitty some good healing vibes!!! We want her healthy and happy in her new home!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Update on Milton and Wanda

Milton, first day I met him. Very shy.

Wanda, not very shy at all. = )

I had emailed K and R about a week and a half after they adopted the two cats, but never got a response. I will admit I was a little worried - how do you know the people who seem so nice in person aren't really animal torturers??? It's definitely hard to trust people you've only met once and talked to a couple of times, because even when you think you *know* the people, they can turn around and surprise you with actions and words you wouldn't have thought they were capable of. Fortunately, in Wanda and Milton's case, the owners seemed to have accidently skipped over my email.
I emailed again about two weeks after not receiving a response, and got one about a day later. Both are eating well, and Wanda's stools seem to be staying normal. K wrote that they are still timid, staying mostly downstairs, but will come upstairs at night. Wanda has even started sleeping at the foot of their bed. Both cats seem to be fine with their two beagles. It works out quite well for the cats, actually, because the two dogs are afraid to go down the stairs and need to be carried if it is necessary for them to go down. So the cats have as much time as they want to get used to their new house without much interruption from people and dogs.
Milton is a bit shyer than Wanda (not surprised) but will let K hold him for about a half hour each night before he takes off. She says he'll meow at the top of the stairs until someone peeks around the corner. Then he'll just stare at the person and start creeping around the house slowly, as if he needs permission. "He is quite the character," she wrote. That he certainly is.
I'm so glad to know that they are doing well, especially knowing that they are getting along fine with the dogs. Also especially that Wanda is continuing to have normal stool. I was really worried that she would start having diarrhea when switched over to a new diet.
Yay! = )

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stranger and Company

This is my band of merry fellows. From left to right: Pickle, Torrini, Snuggle, and Stranger. They certainly are brave souls, daring to rest inside the fence when dogs may come out at any moment. I do fear we may have an issue at some point, because the cats usually only run away when chased - and only have a couple of areas they are used to escaping through. I'm sure they can climb the fence if need be, but I really don't want anything ugly happening if they get cornered by a dog...

There is a small hole nearby that they come in and out through. Most dogs are quite good about the cats. They either ignore them or give a half-hearted chase when the cats happen to be inside the fence. Some dogs, though... I had a freakout couple of minutes when I brought a dog (Suga Pie, it was) outside, she saw the cat, cat went running through the space, dog tried to follow. I dove after the dog (knowing how strong this dog was - knowing she could probably get through this hole if she really desired to do so) and was able to leash her. There is also Moby - when he sees a cat, you CANNOT tear his attention away. He will howl at those cats until the sun goes down. He's bigger and can't climb, but you never know what he may try to do to get at the cats. I certainly don't want him hurting himself, so I usually keep him inside when I know the cats will be at their feeding station. (Once he saw Ian through the door while in the playroom. He could not forget about him. He insisted on standing at the door, barking and howling. No treats, toys, or amount of love could turn his head. I ended up picking the big guy up and putting him in the tub to calm down. We spent our last ten minutes with me chanting: "Petting is better than barking. Petting is better than barking." I don't think he agrees fully, haha. He's a wonderful dog, playful and sweet - until he sees a cat. Then you can be sure he's forgotton all about you.)

We don't feed the cats inside the fence. Their houses and feeding station are on the other side, in the wooded area. Besides simply being cats, I don't know why they like to go inside the fence and hang out. Maybe just waiting to be fed? Maybe they're hoping by waiting closer to the building they'll get their food faster? I just fear they'll be attacked one day, or encourage a dog to try to escape. But we'll deal with that when it happens... (This is Jehzar, by the way)

Stranger, wanting me to put his food down and Jehzar in the left corner. Their houses are in the background, but you can't really see them. We have one large igloo, filled with straw and covered with a tarp with some more straw in between for a bit of added insulation. One small igloo, raised above the ground by a discarded tire, filled with straw and covered by another tarp with straw in between. One small, wooden house made by Feral Villa. Nice, insulated little thing - I hope they use it when it's cold. And lastly, one large wooden house made by Jeremy, for his Boy Scouts project. (The other three he made are being donated to other cat colonies in our town.) That filled with straw, as well. I've seen them use the igloos, but not sure about the wooden houses. I don't know really which ones they like best, or if there's one they don't use at all. I have seen footsteps to all entries, but that doesn't mean much.

Torrini, waiting in his little hideout by my improvised feeding station.

Pickle is limping. Has been limping for a couple of weeks now. He keeps his left front leg up while hopping around. I'm not sure if there's anything we can do...

Torrini, bothered by the fact I'm taking pictures and not leaving. He had a couple of bald spots on his back several weeks ago, but his hair appears to be growing back nicely, lately.

Snuggle in the hideout.

Pretty boy Stranger.

Jegzar and Snuggle. Waiting. Dylan said he's seen Jehzar limping, too. He looked perfectly normal these last few days, however.

Pickle, favoring his front left leg, as you can see in this picture. = (

This is my grand feeding station. Big blue tub on its side with its top as a roof. Large rotting log on top as anchor, with dead leaves strewn about as camoflauge. = ) The blue tub is sitting on two discarded tires and houses their water and one bowl of food. I believe Snuggle is in there in this picture. The two larger tires in front help keep the snow out of the tub. I packed the tires with decaying leafy matter to make them into tables, really. We put straw down over the snow so they don't have to stand directly on the snow all while they eat. It works pretty well.

Three bowls are set out so each cat gets a chance to eat. They move around constantly, maybe trying to determine if one bowl offers something better than the other. Sometimes one will smack the other away, but they share for the most part, I believe. I've started putting just a little bit of water to their food for added moisture. I bring out fresh water every afternoon when I feed them, but it freezes overnight...

I've really grown attached to these five boys. I hope they're staying warm enough on these cold nights. They all better be snuggling up with each other nicely!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tipsy's Cats... Again

We're back in business with the cats at Tipsy's. I emailed Habitat For Cats about these cats, as I wasn't getting anywhere, and she told me they had a volunteer who was looking into the situation and would tell her to email me to see how I could help. She did email me a couple of days ago, telling me that she has been focusing on food and shelter at the Tipsy colony as well as a Hess station colony for the past couple of weeks, and was wondering what I'd suggest next.

Habitat for Cats charges $45 a cat. None of the people who feed want to have anything to do with donating money for these cats to be fixed. They don't even really understand the importance of fresh water and shelter. And though the hospital offers the surgery free of charge, they can't really do every cat for free. What I really don't want is for us to run out of funds right away and not be able to help anyone at all. (There are 40-60 cats between these two locations...) So we need to try to come up with some sort of plan to secure funds for Companion.

I've been trying to come up with a plan for a raffle, especially since no one at work is really helping out. I keep bringing it up, but I can't really do it all on my own. I did however, write up a whole plan which I will be talking to someone about tomorrow.

Habitat for Cats can offer a couple of freebie slots, but of course they can't do too many, either. I hope that this woman and I will be able to figure something out.

As soon as all of the paperwork is completed, she and I should be able to start trapping the cats at both locations. Not really sure where the Hess station is, actually. Maybe on Jefferson Rd?

I informed her of our limitations, how we can't schedule surgeries, but instead look for open spots to take advantage of. That we can't do more than two cats a day. That we can only help a couple colonies or caretakers at a time. With diligence, though, we should be able to make a difference.

I hope to be able to convince someone to help me take over the huts that J built, as well. They are too big for my little car. (The huts are great, by the way. All Boy Scouts should make these things!!! *thanks J*)

I am looking forward to actually working with someone. At Wendy's, I had the LV'sand Mrs. L. At the hospital I have my coworkers and such. At Tipsy's, I didn't really have someone to help, which made it quite frustrating. N told me that there were several areas in which the cats were being fed, which is part of the reason why it was so hard to trap the cats - they could go elsewhere for food!!! I had been really boggled by the fact that there were over 20 cats in that small area and no one want to come over and try to get the food out of the trap.

Anyway, I have to work in the morning, so i should stop my rambling. = )

My Logie Dogie

This is Logan. He is one of my absolute favorite dogs ever. He has the softest, velvetiest ears and muzzle. I like to joke about harvesting his ears for my "collection."

He is the perfect blend of dog, honestly. He is calm, super friendly, loves to play and run around, but seems so grown up about it in the process.

He is extremely mellow, enjoys people and other dogs, and loves to cuddle.

His mommy says he has always been a super mellow dog, even as a puppy. I always tell her how much we love him every time he leaves. Because we do.

All the girls love Logan. He's that wonderful. If stealing weren't a crime, and if his mommy wouldn't miss him, I would totally snatch that boy away. = )

Monday, January 18, 2010

A little irritated and sad tonight...

Kate has been talking to me for a couple of weeks about a cat that her boyfriend's friend took in. The cat was found in someone's garage, and this guy (Tait, I believe) said "I don't mind cats. She can live at my house." Which was nice and well-intentioned, but of course the cat never went to see the vet. And wasn't getting the litter box concept, as she had been living outdoors for a while. So he stuck her in the basement. It was nice that he didn't throw her back outside again, but you can't stick a sick cat in the basement without proper vet care and no sort of social contact. That's not a life.

Kate has been great, trying to help this poor kitty. Treating her for fleas, trying to make sure she stays warm and well-fed, but the cat is sick and needs to see a vet. I've tried to come up with solutions for this cat, but they're not going through. The guy says he doesn't want to pay for her medical bills b/c he's not going to keep her. Kate doesn't have any money, and her boyfriend says it's not his responsibility. Which I get, I really do. I've talked about how if I move in with Kim, she's got to understand that I'm not going to be taking care of Onyx. That he is her responsibility, and when I want a dog, I will get one.

But this cat has no one who's "responsible" for her. And that depresses me. Tait, in all reality, should be, and *is* in my opinion. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks the same as me: when you take an animal in your house, you are obligated to provide the best care possible. I understand if the guy is poor, felt bad for the cat, and offered her a warm place to stay. But if he has the means to take her to a vet and at least make her a bit more comfortable, then, yes, I believe he is responsible for that. How can you deny at least minimal health care to this helpless animal simply b/c she doesn't use the litter box regularly (due to living outside or other medical issues) and you, therefore, don't desire to keep her?

Life shouldn't be about who's responsible. It should be about taking action b/c it's the right thing to do. If Kim ran away or something drastic like that, would I hand her dog over to the shelter? No, of course not. He'd probably have a limited chance at adoption b/c he's a pit bull mix, even though he's super friendly and loving. I couldn't do that to him. He's not my responsibility, but when someone or some animal or some thing comes into your life, you have to try to do what's right. Simply b/c if you don't do what's right, how do you know anyone else will???

Kate asked me tonight if I wanted to come down on Wednesday to go with her to take the cat to a shelter. I told her no way. There is no possible way I can help her take a poor, sick cat to a shelter and feel okay afterwards. B/c we all know the no-kill shelters have waiting lists, and what are the chances a cat who's already sick and doesn't use the litter box properly is going to be adopted out into a loving family at a regular shelter? Slim. Hearing about this cat saddens me greatly, b/c no one is willing to step up and take this cat to a vet to be taken care of. I have offered to help pay for meds, but there's no one to actually take responsibility for this cat. To take care of her. But I can't help take her to a shelter, b/c I will have her face forever engraved upon my mind. The second she becomes real to me is the second that I fall into that pit of sadness where lost souls cry out, asking why they weren't saved. And I can't let that happen.

In the meantime, I will try to think of another solution for this poor cat. Feel free to suggest anything. I am new to this sort of heartbreak.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

RIT cats

Have I written about the cats at RIT? I don't remember and can't seem to find anything referring to it in previous posts...

I suscribed to a RIT's Caring Hearts Yahoo group, really just to feel connected to others doing the stray and feral "cat thing." It can feel quite lonely sometimes, feeling as if you're the only "cat person" around. No matter what anyone says, there is a definite negative stereotype associated with those who go beyond owning a cat or two. Or those who seem to think cats are on par with dogs. If you talk about your cat the way you would a dog, you are a "cat person." And cat people are weird, right?

I used to protest when I was referred to as a "cat lady." No matter how much I protest, however, those who came to know me through work think of me as a cat person. I attempted to explain that I love dogs just as much - but happen to not share my life with one at the time. (Thanks, Dad) I would try to show that I started the "cat thing" through working at the animal hospital, educating myself on pet overpopulation, and meeting a feral cat in the woodsy area behind the hospital. But I'm still referred to as the "cat lady." One woman even went as far to say that she could never see me sharing my home with a dog.

For some reason, I take major offense to that statement. Nobody likes to be stereotyped in the first place, but certainly not when people are being downright rude about it! That's like telling someone who wants to have children some day, "I can't see you as a parent." Oh, well, thank you. I definitely appreciate your input and will keep your opinion in mind as I go on with my life.

Fortunately, my friends, especially the ones who knew me before I got into this "cat thing" know me more. They know I am more than a person who cares about cats. And they like me for me. Which may sound a bit corny, but it's something I comfort myself with when I am frustrated with closed-minded (is it close or closed???) people.

Anyway, by following RIT's Caring Hearts group on Yahoo, I found out that they needed a place to take their stray and feral cats to be sterilized, as Lollypop has suspended their program for the time being. And preferably a place that doesn't charge full price for a stray or feral cat. As they are located here in Henrietta, they're eligible for our program. I contacted one of the group leaders to tell them about our program (and our limitations) and soon everything was set up to go. At that point, they had no new cats to be fixed, but she emailed me this morning telling me that they will need three spots when available. She also wants to call me to tell me about their new "project." The group takes on one particular place (besides RIT, of course) at a time, trying to help their surrounding areas with their feral/stray cat issues. They've done a couple of farms here in Henrietta, with great success, I believe. I'm kind of excited to hear about where they want to help out next, because I want to be involved. I am quite inexperienced as of yet, and always benefit with a little bit of direction. I'm hoping I become more comfortable taking the lead as time goes on, because sitting back and letting others control the reins just isn't doing it for me, lately.

SW (acronym to protect privacy) invited me to come with her one evening as she makes her rounds around campus, feeding the cats. I need to take her up on that when I talk to her next. I think it would be interesting to see how others manage their colonies. I always wonder if I'm doing enough/doing things right. I'm sure anything is better than nothing, but after a while, you tend to care about your feral cats and want to provide for them as best as possible. I used to worry that the people at work didn't care enough to feed the cats on my days off, but over time, I've realized that not only do they feed them b/c it's part of their job now, but they've come to care about them enough to notice when one doesn't come for food, or when one has some bald spots. Or to notice that their water has frozen over and they need to refill it. I feel much better about not coming in on my days off anymore to feed them. I know now that my coworkers do care enough to haul their butts out there, even in the wind and snow, to feed them and give them fresh water. And it makes me a bit happy. = )

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Spay/neuter clinic

I volunteered at Rochester Animal Services' spay/neuter clinic a few weeks ago. Each clinic within the Monroe Veterinary Association does one a year. The vets, techs, and ACAs can sign up to volunteer.

I was in charge of the recovery room. De-tubing the spayed cats, making sure all the cats woke up okay, recording the amount of meds given to each cat. Checking the incision site to ensure they had been altered, giving them a towel or pee pad to lay on in case they went to the bathroom in their cages.

I liked helping out. A lot. It was nice to see 30 cats' lives forever altered. I only wish they had allowed more cats in. We were done before noon - it seemed like we could have easily done ten more.

There was one cat, drooling up a little sea in his cage. I made sure everyone checked on him, just in case the drooling wasn't normal. I had to change his pee pad three times - it was soaked! They said it was just a reaction from the meds. Every other cat seemed pretty normal, though. The spayed cats took a bit longer to wake up, as was expected, but otherwise, nothing out of the ordinary.

Except for the chicken. When we first walked in to the surgery area, looking at all the cats in their carriers, getting ready to start taking them out and weigh them, we noticed the chicken. In a cage with some newspaper shreds. It had been found on the streets of Rochester, supposedly, and was brought to the shelter. I found out when we left that they had euthanized it.

That poor chicken.

There were a couple of cats in the cages in the surgery room. Above the chicken. It hurts to think that they may have been slotted for euthanasia, like the chicken.

T wanted to show us the dog she liked as we left. He was a big, beautiful Mastiff sort of dog. I hope he finds a home. And doesn't scare potential adopters off with his booming bark and jumping up on the cage in excitement.

On a side note, today has been the most boring and aggravating day. So much so that I just want to go back to bed right now. *sigh*