Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday Trappings

I had another opportunity by Lollipop to TNR a few more of my cats this morning.  Helping me out was Laura again.  I can't stress enough how very very grateful I am to have actual physical help from someone - whether it be trapping, or even helping me to feed these cats.  Trapping is mentally exhausting for me, and to have to feed at all the others spots I go to on top of the trapping is physically exhausting.  So, when Laura is taking over two spots of mine for trapping, its two spots less I have to feed at - and it makes such a difference, time wise and food wise.

My prep work last evening involved putting two traps, and two carriers, which Lollipop requires the cats come there in, and with, into my car.  I then got my container of tuna ready, and light blankets to fit over the traps once the cats are in there, it calms them down.  This morning, I set both traps on a porch of an abandoned house that I've been feeding cats at on Parsells.  I left there and went and did my next four stops that are in fairly close proximity.  Of course, all the babes were waiting for me.  I went back to see if I caught one before heading to Webster and Ferndale, and lo and behold, there was a grey and white male kitty in one trap.  Got him, and had to reset the other trap as it looks as if one got in, got the tuna, and took off before being closed in.   I then went about with kitty in the back, doing my thing, up until seeing Laura to give her the cat, as she was providing transport to and from, bless her heart.  I told her I was going to go back for the other to see if I got anything.  I did, and it was a racoon inside!  So, I opened the trap door and I've never seen a raccoon fly!  He hightailed it out of there like there was no tomorrow!  I then grabbed the trap, and went home and put Vanessa in the trap, and brought her back to Laura on Second.  I didn't want to waste a spot, and there are certainly more cats that needed to be spayed, but I was running out of time to get to work and figured the momma needed to be spayed regardless.  She may have to go back out on the street as I am not finding anyone to foster her or her kittens.  So, I consider that a successful morning!

I read a quote from William Shakespeare the other day and found it to be quite profound.  I share it here with you.  I love words that have meaning, that keep life in perspective:  From "The Tempest"....
·         "Our revels are now ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air,
And, like the baseless fabric of vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with sleep."
Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thoughtful Gestures

I am in tears right now.  Well, I'm misty.  I read yesterday's comments, and I am just so honored that people think of me the way they do.  Ask some of my friends, I can be ...  whats the word ... opinionated, outspoken, stubborn, bossy, hey!  I'm an Aries!  I am pretty much accurately defined, according to the charts:

"Aries is a uniquely naive sign. Although they are independent, outgoing and assertive they are also surprisingly trusting, often innocently walking into the lion's den at times. No matter what upheaval, challenge or triumph they confront - an Aries has a wonderful ability to bounce back. Their faith in life and the future remains untouched by hardship. Their gift is that they are always children at heart and the world is always a magical place for them. Many famous sports people are born under this sign. Aries is regarded as the most physical sign and because of its Mar's rulership; it is also one of the most highly charged masculine energy signs in astrology. No wonder women born under Aries are forceful, dynamic and aggressive.  Aries people are 'doers' rather than 'talkers'. They are the impulsive, act first, ask questions or have doubts later, sign of the zodiac. That's why their lives are often filled with many dramas and sometimes even accidents! Their ability to live life close to the edge provides them with a wealth of 'real experience' to call upon. When an Aries person talks about something or somewhere they've usually done it or been there, rather than simply read about it in a book. Being active people Aries can't adapt to any kind of restriction, particularly possessive relationships. They often travel to escape any feelings of being stuck or possessed. Aries people love challenges. In fact, if everything is running smoothly, they are quite capable of going out and doing something (sometimes quite foolish) to rock the boat. Aries love to race in where angels fear to tread."

Reading all the comments to the posts I've written over the years really makes me feel special, and good about this part of my life I've chosen to undertake, to care for the animals in the City of Rochester.  I thank everyone who's ever commented to me about what I do, whether it be good or bad.  It makes me realize that I am not the only one that cares.

Also, I returned home after work yesterday and found four small plastic totes built into cat shelters in my back yard.   Cut with a little door so that the cat can get in and out, these will make fine homes when it gets very bad out.  The man that did this for me is a total stranger, but out of the goodness of his heart, built these for me.  I was touched.   Many people over the years have given me things hoping that it would somehow help a cat, and I thank you for that.  I've had a lot of damage and theft of things I leave for the cats, but hopefully these will last and serve the purpose for the cats that will need a shelter when the time comes. 

I am attaching pictures some of my spots (one is of the board that keeps getting stolen on 7th, with what I wrote on it in marker, in the dark!), some with the kitties that are super friendly and are begging for homes, and of the little ones in my care right now that I just rescued two mornings ago from the street.  If anyone has ever had the opportunity to care for a kitten, what a great feeling it is to look into these little ones eyes, and know they are just babies, and that leaving them out on the street would be a sin.  We have to do everything we can to protect these animals by spaying  the females, and neutering the boys.  We have to prevent tragedies like this.  There are too many kittens in captivity, and out in the streets that shouldn't be here.   These kittens and their Mama need a home.  Please help. 

Hungry Boy on Central

Sweet Girl on Central

Sweet Grey on Third

Mamma and Red Kitten

Red and Black Kittens

Red Kitten

Red Kitten

Black Kitten

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Yesterday afternoon I raced home from work to give the little dirtbags a bath.  Whew!  They were DIRTY.  And full of fleas.  I had them in my porcelain filled bathroom so there wasn't too much clean up as far as throwing anything in the wash that may have had the dirt/fleas on it.  They were fluffy and sweet smelling by the evening.   I am once again having problems with downloading pictures on my camera, but got the sweetest picture of the two kittens curled up in the sink together, so tomorrow I should have that posted.  In the meantime, I posted their pictures late yesterday on this blog.  I hope you take a look.  They are adorable.

I also took more pictures this morning of some of the sweet adult cats that need adoption, and will include those tomorrow.  I spoke with three shelters yesterday asking if they could take these kittens and the momma, and was turned down due to their own overcrowding.  I am starting to panic thinking I won't be able to find them a home, or at least even a foster home.  I cannot keep them.  I don't know what I will do.

I forgot to mention, I was able to finally play a round of golf on Saturday.  Guess who I brought with me?  Wally!  If any of you have been following my posts, I befriended Wally last year because he was friends with Miss B., the down and out woman I met through feeding cats on Grand Avenue.  She was evicted and spent several months in a women's shelter.  I have had many friends help me out with clothes and furniture donations for Wally and Miss B., since she got her own place this past spring.  I have been 'helping' Wally out since.  He moved from Grand into a slightly better part of the inner city, just around the corner from where he was.  I bring him food occasionally, supply him with DVD's occasionally, as he doesn't have cable on his postage sized television.  Did I mention Wally is blind in one eye?  He was shot with a paintball by a group of kids years ago and lost his sight in one eye.  Wally also adopted my Larry, who I rescued months ago from Pennsylvania Avenue after seeing him so sick and infested with mites in his ears.  Anyways, I thought it would be nice to get him out of the hood and spend time in a peaceful, quiet environment.   Tee time was for 7 am. and just as he promised, Wally was ready for pickup at 6:15.  Well, we had fun, we saw herons, we had laughs over my shots which were rusty since I haven't played in a while, and we enjoyed the peace and serenity of the golf course. 

Later that day, Wally called and left a message to ask how my blister was doing - I need new golf shoes - that he had a great time, and just before he hung up, he said "by the way, Larry says HI".  I got a real kick out of that.  He may not be like me, holding, mauling and kissing my babies, but I know he has developed a type of love for that cat.  Thats a great thing to know.  I am sure Larry appreciates him too.

"Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Kittens and Momma

New Kids on the Block

Update from the weekend.  I mentioned last Friday about the homeless guy I met one morning late last week.  He was coming out of the driveway next door to the house I feed at on Third Street.  Seems I startled him, and he walked over to me after we exchanged goodmorning pleasantries.  After I explained I feed cats around here, he told me he remembered me from a year or two ago, he remembered I fed the cats, and mentioned 'you help people too'.  He said I gave him a dollar years ago and he will never forget that.  He introduced himself as Will, we shook hands, and carried on a 10 minute conversation that included cats, homeless folks, and the 15 year old boy that was shot that week.  Will asked where the parents were, and why this boy wasn't in bed at midnight when it happened. He said in his day (he told me he was 57), he would be in the house in bed, that his parents wouldn't allow it.   We both teared up over that young man.  You have to wonder how Will got to the point he was at in life.  I offered him a ride, he refused.  I offered him a blanket from my trunk, he accepted.  We parted ways, saying we would see each other again.

My board was stolen early last week from 7th street.  So, I went there on Thursday lunch and spoke to Maria, who is always hanging out on her porch, which is almost across from the lot where the board leans against a structure in the back.  As we were talking, she waved to a guy who came over, she spoke to him in Spanish, and introduced us.  His name is Eli, and after Maria offered for me to take another GREAT board in her garage, Eli carried it over to that spot for replacement.  It was heavy.  He did a great job.  I thanked him and he said he would keep an eye out also for whoever is taking my stuff, as he lives in the apartments on the corner near Bay.  The next morning, the board was there, and I wrote on the board in black marker "This is the only 'home' these cats have.  Please leave alone."  Its still there as of today. 

This morning, as I drove to my first feeding spot on Parsells, I noticed a cat in the oncoming lane, dead.  I stopped, backed up, drove up to in in the opposite lane, got out, went to my trunk, got a towel, and lovingly wrapped it up and placed it gently on the side of the street.  The cat had on a plastic flea collar.  Whats wrong with people? 

Yesterday morning, as I was on Pennsylvania, I spotted Vanessa, the VanGogh like kitty.  And right behind her, guess who was there?  Her two kittens.  I would have to say the kittens are 6-7 weeks old, which is when I first started to see Vanessa out and about.  Her milk ducts were completely enlarged then.  She ran over to me as I poured out the food and water, and so did her little ones.  I picked each one up and they began to purr.  I was sick in leaving them, but I didn't have anything to put them in, and I figured I needed to get all three, as Vanessa is not fixed.  This morning, I brought my carrier with me, and guess who's in my bathroom right now?  All three.  I will have pictures added here by tomorrow.

In my sometimes thoughtless brain, I think nothing of picking up a cat in need, and praying I can find a home for it.  As many of you know, there are several adult cats that are on my Top Five list of rescuing and finding homes.  The only explanation I have for this morning's rescue is that I had to get these tiny, baby kittens off this terribly busy and cruel street, and their mother, so that all three can be together during this disruptive, but hopefully good change in their lives.  I say that because I cannot keep these cats.  The must either be fostered by someone, or I need to bring them to a shelter.  I have my own situation at home, and there are other deserving adult cats that need a home, and I must do something with these kittens and their mother.  Please help. 

Friday, August 24, 2012


Apathy and evil. The two work hand in hand. They are the same, really. Evil wills it. Apathy allows it. Evil hates the innocent and the defenseless most of all. Apathy doesn't care as long as it's not personally inconvenienced.  ~ Jake Thoene

I have a vacation day, and must get cracking on my housework, and I have a few updates on things out on the streets this morning, including the boy that was shot, and the homeless man Will whom I met this morning and had a lovely conversation with.  Very very nice, smart man.  Funny how people come into your life like that and can touch your heart.  But in the meantime, I was thinking about the word APATHY that I used in a previous post, and wanted to explore that. 

If we define "apathy" for ourselves, I think that we would come up with many different definitions. The main gist of the word seems to be a state of not caring, of not finding enthusiasm or hope or excitement about anything in our minds or in our hearts or in our spirits. The apathetic person simply seems not to care about anything, and seems to be fine letting life go by without making any of his or her own contributions to it.   I can name a few folks in my life - and I don't mean this as a put down, but it seems like they've lost their will to hope.  Or they are just plain and pure selfish.

But if I'm apathetic, then I'm not creating conditions in which I learn. After all, our most effective and most important learning comes when we've taken actions and we learn from the results of those actions, be the results positive or negative, what we hoped for or what we hoped to avoid. A lack of action keeps us from learning very important lessons.

Apathy also keeps us from forming friends and feeling connections to our fellow human beings. Apathy tends to be a lonely state, one that keeps us from doing what we can to help others, and that keeps us from asking others for help.

Most unfortunately, our apathy keeps us from making a positive mark or three on the world in our own unique ways. If I don't care about things, I'm not going to volunteer my time to help other people. If I don't care, I'm not going to challenge myself to make things better, i.e. feeding, sheltering, neutering cats. If I'm apathetic, it's very easy to simply sit on the couch and passively experience the entertainment that's been created by people who have taken action and who have pursued their dreams.

And while it's tempting to look at apathy as simply a personal problem, the fact is that it's a societal problem that's incredibly dangerous. Apathy is one of those traits that can damage people and systems like almost nothing else can, simply through the inaction of apathetic people in times when action is called for. And unfortunately, we seem to be teaching our young people to be less and less concerned with societal issues and more and more concerned about personal issues and personal gratification.  For instance the little boy that was out at midnight getting shot and killed.  Where were his parents?  Why wasn't he home?

Apathy is a quality that makes people very frustrated--have you ever tried to drum up interest among a group of people who just don't care? The Grand Avenue people are who immediately come to my mind here.  And when apathetic people get together, they tend to feed off each other, supporting each other's ideas that what they do doesn't matter. For people who are trying to be active and get important things done, apathy can be an obstacle greater than laws, an often-insurmountable mountain over which they're unable to move.

The apathetic people whom I've known have convinced themselves that what they do doesn't matter. They've talked themselves into believing that other people don't care about them or what they do. They're fully convinced that even if they do act, their actions will have no effect on others or on the world. Perhaps the best way to approach apathy is by trying to convince the apathetic person that their actions do matter, maybe by taking every opportunity we can to thank them for something that they've done, telling them that it has had a positive effect on us.

Perhaps the best way for us to deal with apathy is through caring enough to convince the apathetic people that they're wrong when they think that what they do just doesn't matter.

Have a great, hopeful, and positive weekend! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Reality Check

2-2 gallon bags dry food - CHECK!; 3-48oz. yogurt containers filled with canned food - CHECK!; paper plates and bowls - CHECK!; flashlight - CHECK!; pepper spray - CHECK!  although a lot of good that would do me if needed...  as I was driving down North Goodman this morning, passing Short Street, I saw YNN newscrew setting up their cameras with a newswoman standing on the corner, and I was thinking, what are they doing a story about at this time of the morning, and I was tempted to stop and get out and ask her and tell them what I did and that they should do a story on all the homeless cats in these neighborhoods...  and then I kept going thinking I would watch when I got home and find out that way.  As I set down the last of my food to the hungry Parsells cats, I drove home thinking how tired I am of all this.  My 7th Street large board that I got from a woman that lives there and assumed it was now safe from vandalism and theft, was gone this morning.  I left a note in Maria's mailbox to call me, and another woman Angela's mailbox who is kind to me, and drove off disheartened.  Another perfect very large board that I dragged from a far distance, was gone.

Back at home, listening to the news while doing my dishes, getting my lunch ready, and refilling the cat food containers for tomorrow I overheard that there was a shooting on Short Street, which is right there, where I feed.  I thought something was odd this morning because the board that covers the opening under the porch of where these three cats feed at every morning had been moved.  This is where my little Prince Harry was rescued, this is where Patric was recently rescued.  I have rescued at least 5 cats from this street already this year.  A 15 year old boy was killed last night there.  Now this is like the 20?  25? shootings this year in these neighborhoods.  And you rarely hear them say that a suspect has been apprehended.  So, I am apprehensive when I go out in the morning, because shootings are what you first hear on the 5 am. news but I didn't hear about this one this morning, or I would have been on higher alert than I normally am.

So, it was a very disappointing morning, knowing this one spot is now open again to the elements, thank God the forecast calls for no rain, but I am very disappointed to know that someone walked off with this large board and no one said anything.  So, I will go over there again on my lunch today to try to speak to someone, anyone that will listen to me.  I must make this a secure spot somehow.  So much for the box of wine I brought to Maria as a gift for keeping an eye out on that space.   

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


as an addendum to yesterday's post, after standing in my kitchen refilling my bags and containers for tomorrow's feedings, I want to thank everyone who has ever adopted a cat from me, not just my mother and sister.  I have many friends, readers of my blog or not, that have saved me when I've become desperate with finding a home for a cat.  Honestly, if it weren't for those of you, and you do know who you are, there would be many more sad stories to be told.  Have a great day. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Terrific Tuesday!

Again this morning, I am nearly tripping over this very sweet young vivid red  colored male kitty that encircles me when I come to bring food to the Webster/Ferndale bunch.  I must get a picture, but what a good boy this little one is.  I wonder how it happens..  You take a feral cat (or was he just homeless and shy), neuter him, continue to feed him on a daily basis for nearly a year all the while gaining his trust, and all the while he struggles to survive through the four seasons, and the dangerous neighborhood surroundings he has to live in, and he becomes friendly.  How does that happen?   Does neutering a cat help with temperment?  I wonder...

My mission in the next month or so is to place shelters for each of my 14 or so spots.  Most that I had have been destroyed, or removed.  If you've followed along religiously with my posts, you know that those spots are pretty much safe again, and I can now place a shelter or two without too much worry.  I think most of the vandals, and kids, are 'getting it'.  They realize that I am just there to help the cats by providing some kind of shelter from the storms and feeding them so that they don't starve to death.   And that I am not going to go away.  So, my wish list would include plastic tarps, plastic tablecloths, that kind of covering, and shelters like old large plastic totes with a hole cut out on the bottom large enough for cats to get in and out, with some straw placed inside, with the cover on top for easy opening, and maybe even a little plastic flap over the hole to keep the inside dry and warmer.  Of course there are the AWESOME wooden shelter/huts that my friend Kristin and her friends and students have helped with, those would be ideal.  I've got way too many blankets and towels now.  Obviously, food and money donations are a blessing.

I don't often think like this, but this morning I thought to myself - here I am out caretaking for at least 13 'colonies' a day - in comparison to those lucky enough to have one or two in their own backyards.  I do all this out of my own pocket, and thank God for the occasional donations I receive.  I feed nearly 20 pounds of dry food a day to nearly 50 cats.  I feed 4 large plastic yogurt containers of wet cat food per day.  The cost is enormous to keep these City of Rochester cats alive and comforted.  I don't have help in doing the actual feeding, I still get myself out of bed 365 days a year, through the worst storms of the season, and trudge through the rain, sleet and blinding snow to put food down for these cats, I wish I had more help, but I don't.  I also don't usually complain out loud, but most of my friends and none of my family even contribute.   Not with food, nor money.  They don't even read my blog which is why I don't feel as uncomfortable writing this.  But for the ones that do, and you know who you are, thank you.  And Mom and sister Karen, thank you for adopting so many kitties from me when I really needed you to.  They thank you too. 

Thanks for listening to what turned into my rant for the day.  :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Top Five List

The rain held off this weekend, which is great for all the homeless and feral cats on the streets of Rochester, and great for my hair too.  When it rains, my hair tends to expand, I could be mistaken for sporting a clown wig.  At my first location, on Parsells, there are at least eight cats waiting for me.  Three hang out waiting for me to leave, but five are there milling about my feet until the food is placed down.  There are three to four cats that actually hear the sound of my car, and greet me at my car door when I pull up, and together we make the long trek to the back of the very long backyard where their feeding station is. Out of those eight, I would have to say four are neutered.  And that is only by my memory of which ones were TNR'd during the Grand Avenue days.  Its so dark out that I really can't see if the others ears are tipped.  That is one location that I will need to secure a little better.  I have a little feeding station that two cats will fit under to eat, and a little hut, that a cat or two can fit under, and on top of those (each are on an opposite end from each other) is a heavy door.  Underneath all this is another door that I set more plates on.  All in all there are around five paper plates and a food bowl under that door that all eight cats need to eat from.  So, during rainstorms, its tolerable for these cats, but when the wind and snow come, it won't be ideal whatsoever.  I don't know if I need a tarp to go over one side, or what.  Wish I had someone to help me assess the situation.  Any suggestions?

At my next spot is my faithful old Big Red.  He has become such a loving little boy since he was fixed.  I have seen him through illness after illness since he's been out on the street.  He is on my Top Five List of getting off the street, when I can find someone or if I can/when I can manage him in my own home.  And of course Talkie is there every single day, so is Lucille, who has been limping for the past week plus, she cannot put any pressure on her front paw.  So sad!  She was TNR'd years ago, and has been getting closer and closer to me each day since. 

At my fifth spot, this little red boy that I had TNR'd last fall greets me every single day.  This is the location that I have NO shelter whatsoever due to the workman redoing the house I used to feed and shelter them at, and the Devil Man who was throwing my stuff out on another abandoned house's porch just a house down from the corner.  Anyways, this little red kitty has been trusting me more and more, enough so that he greets me just as I get out of the car by twisting himself around my ankles until I have to shoo him away so that I can actually walk without tripping to the feeding destination, which on rainless days is under the tree in a vacant lot between the two houses, and on rainy days, on the porch where Devil Man throws my stuff out (but hasn't lately - might have had a change of heart?) although the racoons have also been feasting there lately too.  Little Red is a highly adoptable cat, and is on my Top Five List. 

On Third, there is a beautiful little grey boy, that has been TNR'd already, that I am falling in love with.  He reminds me of my Boris, and my Smokey, and my Barney who I lost just a few months ago.  I swear, there is something about a grey cat.  They are the most loving, the most gentle cats.  I can do anything to Smokey, even put a t-shirt on him, and he just sops it up.   This little grey that waits for me each day at Third, and stands up to Bully the cat who goes after him when I show him affection, is on my Top Five List.

This post is getting too long, so I will continue with this tomorrow.  In the meantime, have yourself a great day, and consider adopting one of the babies on my Top Five List!  :)

PS, Butterscotch a/ka/ Butters a/k/a Butterboy a/k/a Butterballs is still up for adoption!  He is waiting for his furrever home! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Match Made in Heaven!

Today I want to share an inspirational story I recently read.  With all the sadness I write about, its a good change to hear the good in the world.   With kittens as cute as they are, lets not forget all the adult cats out there that I've rescued, that still need to be rescued, that are the sweetest cats of all.

An older gentleman is inspired to open his home and heart to an aging cat on his ninth life.

By John Moylan, New York, New York

I sat down in front of the TV to watch the local news. That’s something I did like clockwork. It helped me feel like I was still a part of New York City.

You see, for 24 years I’d been the principal doorman for the famous Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park. I’d met movie stars, athletes, politicians and famous people of all sorts, as well as regular people who just wanted to treat themselves to a night on the town for a birthday or anniversary.

I loved greeting them all, sometimes shaking their hands, and always making sure they felt welcome.

Of course I did my job standing. When a leg injury forced me into early retirement, I fell into a more solitary routine, spending most days alone in my apartment.

Even after the leg recovered, and I could walk the neighborhood streets like I used to, I still felt a little bit cut off at times, a stranger in a town that once had loved me as much as I loved it.

The local news that night, however, was upsetting. Sixty-three kittens had been dumped at the door of the animal shelter in Mt. Vernon, New York. Days earlier, police had broken up a pit bull fighting ring. Kittens had been used to whet the dogs’ appetite for blood.

The reporter surmised that someone connected to the ring had felt a pang of remorse and taken the kittens to safety. But the shelter’s director, Paula Young, wondered how she could possibly take care of them all.

I said a prayer for all the animals involved, and a funny thought popped into my head: Call the shelter.

Where had that come from? I didn’t want a cat. It had been 10 years since my beloved Hadley had died, and I didn’t want to sully her memory by replacing her with another cat in her own home. Even if I did have a problem that needed addressing.

Ever since an old building down the block had been torn down, I had an ongoing mouse problem, which my landlord ignored. Moreover, my current lease had a no-animal clause in it, and he’d never consent to my getting a cat. But here I was living with mice! Hadley would consider that an insult.
Something had to give. The next day I threatened to get the Board of Health to inspect my apartment. The landlord relented, and signed a rider stating that I could have one cat.
Paula Young answered the phone at the shelter. Her voice was firm and warm, and her matter-of-fact style put me right at ease. Thanks to the media attention, she informed me, all but a few of those lucky 63 kittens had found homes.
“Wonderful,” I said. “I’d like to adopt one to help me with a little problem I’m having with some mice.”

“If it’s a mouser you need,” Paula advised, “an older cat would be more suitable. I have three or four who qualify. And there’s one in particular I’d recommend just for you.”

I trusted her to make a good match. “I don’t care about cute,” I said, “I care about noble.” Somehow I think she’d already surmised that.

Two days later Paula pulled up at my stoop in her truck with a 13-and-a-half pound orange and white male cat, neutered, with all his shots and a mangled right ear. I could see he’d gone through the mill, but his spirit was still intact.
Paula filled me in on his story. He had come from the streets of Mt. Vernon, where he’d seen tough times. He had bad teeth, owing to fights and a poor diet in kittenhood. After his rescue, his deplorable physical condition suggested he be put down.

However, his indomitable will to live commanded Paula’s intercession to get him the complex medical care he needed to recover. His battle scars kept him from being adopted, but his personality had made him the favorite feline at the shelter for the two-year duration of his stay. Which was about as long as I’d had my mouse problem!

The cat’s story resonated with this 67-year-old native New Yorker who had grown up on the rough and tumble streets of the West Side. I knew about want, pain and suffering, and my heart had thrilled to stirring comebacks ever since Bobby Thomson’s homer in the last of the ninth won the pennant for the New York baseball Giants in 1951.

The analogy did not escape me that this cat was on his ninth life, while I was entering the ninth inning of mine. And when I learned that Paula had been planning a permanent move across the country, wanting only to insure a good home for her most special cat before she left, I considered the whole incident divinely orchestrated.

After three hours hiding under the bed in my apartment, my new charge emerged from seclusion and brushed up against my leg, telling me that his situation was acceptable. Wyatt, I called him, after the famous American lawman Wyatt Earp. Fast, athletic, canny and dedicated, the cat chased down the mice in my apartment. In two days—after two years of lawlessness—Dodge City (my apartment) had been cleaned up once and for all.

Wyatt is indeed a noble cat, and I’m blessed to be his steward. The vets at the Humane Society guessed he is about eight years old. After all his early misfortune, he is happy and flourishing in his own home. And I’m flourishing again too, by the grace of Jesus Christ and with Wyatt by my side.

We play ball, he gets groomed, he watches me when I watch the news. And I make sure he gets his yearly blessing on the Feast of St. Francis. We’re two grizzly veterans, each rescued by the other, together for a good stretch run.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thrilling Thursday!

Well, I don't know how thrilling it was this morning, and who knows, maybe the rest of the day will turn out with some excitement , but that's all I could come up with for a title today, so..........

OK, back to reality.  This morning was dark.  Its very dark out now at 5:15.  I can't wait for the fall time change, but then again I can because I know the dreaded winter weather is coming when we change the clocks.   I have a lousy LED flashlight that just doesn't work like it should, and a cell phone.  That's all I carry in my pockets each morning.

The wonderful Laura was out at my last spot trying to trap two kitties for me for TNR'g at Lollipop, and I pray she was successful.  We were only given two spots this week, none next week, but more the last week of August and early September.  There are so many kitties that need to be fixed.  Especially Vanessa.  She is a new Mom, and I am not sure where her babies are.   So I will be making a list now at my locations of who and who isn't fixed.  I needed to leave Laura with some food this morning to leave for the cats after she trapped as she had forgotten to bring some, and as I briefly spoke to her, I pointed to a house across the street from Paul's that I was leaving food for these three new young kitties recently - the house has a covered porch, and I don't think they know enough yet to go behind Paul's house to eat - telling her I was leaving food on the porch for them, and she looked at me funny, and I responded by saying "I know, I obsessed!"  It was funny at first, but its true.  I am compelled to place food down for these animals thinking they might not find the food at the regular places if they are not used to my feedings each day.

I am in need of shelters.  If I had time, I would build them myself, so if anyone knows crafty people that might be interested in helping me, I would be so grateful.  I would have to say that I need a shelter at almost all of my locations, which would be a total of at least 13 or so!  Now that my 7th Street spot is safe for now, and with only a board leaning up against a wall, that would be a good spot to set a replacement for the one that was destroyed and then removed.  Most of my other locations are secure, except for Ferndale and Webster, where the devil man lives, but hasn't been throwing the cat food out lately that I have been placing on a dilapidated porch.  I have yet to find a secure shelter for those cats.  The man that was working on renovating the house on the corner never came through for me after I asked him to build me a hut, seeing as how his company asked me to stop feed on the sheltered porch of this house that I had been feeding at for several years while it was abandoned.  Oh well.  I hope he has some conscience and realizes that he has 'displaced' several homeless kitties, and makes amends somehow.  Who knows, maybe he is building one at his home and its just taking a while to finish!  Wishful thinking.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Soggy Wednesday

Boy did the rain come down yesterday afternoon.  Buckets.  This morning I replaced a lot of wet towels.  I do this just as a very small comfort for the cats tiny feet to stand on while they gobble their food.  The rest of their day is spent walking in wet, glass ridden grass and pavement.  I also do this for them in the winter so they are not standing on ice or snow.  This is why I my washer and dryer are nearly kaput.  My appliances have taken a lot over the years.

I have an opportunity to trap, neuter and return tomorrow morning.  I must try to get the two little kittens that are prime ready to get pregnant - and I believe one has already given birth to a litter.  They are sweet too, its going to be hard to let them go back out.  I've named the girl cat that looks like a VanGogh painting, her colors are so vivid and colorful.  Vanessa (its sort of like VanGogh!)  She was around the past two days, but not this morning.  I had to chase away the Raccoon family of five again this morning at this spot.  Poor Sparkles and Limpy #2 have to gobble their food before they come along almost daily!  The baby raccoons are nearly fearless.  They will just sit there, you have to nudge them (with a stick) to get them moving.

I met a woman named Linda this morning on Second Street.  She was watching me as I approached a house across from Paul's that I have been placing food down for the three new kittens I've discovered there.    They have yet to discover across the street behind Paul's where I have the shelters and food.  So this nice man allows me to place a few bowls of food on his covered porch for them.  This woman was standing with her door open watching me approach.  I didn't know what she thought of me, but after I placed the food down, I went over to her, and said hello!  I introduced myself, told her I wasn't just feeding and allowing the cats to procreate, that I was actually trying to reduce the population of cats on her street by having them either rescued, or trap neuter returned.  I told her they were God's creatures, and suffering enough, and asked her to watch over them.  She agreed with each statement, and seemed like a very nice lady.  She lives directly across from a 'speakeasy'?  is that the term?  People go there all hours of the night and buy booze, cigarettes, and other sordid sundries through the window of the house.  I can imagine Linda sees all sorts of stuff, so it was nice that she could still be a kind-hearted person.

Here are a few pictures of Butters, who is still waiting for a new home! 

"It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Just Enough...

is what I have of food each morning these days, and some days its not enough. I carry only so much dry food, and wet food. My food supply is dwindling faster each day due to a few circumstances, one being the Devil Man throwing away the food, and with more cats out there. I am trying again to reach out to some folks to see if I can get some spots for neutering, there are just so many more, and a lot of young females to boot. And I don’t have the money to buy more during the week. I buy just enough on my once a week grocery shopping trips, and have wound up going out again during the week because I run out of food.

Embarrassing as it is to admit, I have added more stops, in addition to the 11 that I already have. Two to be exact. And that’s not to mention the frequent stops I make when I see a stray on the side of the road as I am driving in these neighborhoods. That means I am getting in and out of my car 26 times (13 out, 13 in!) for that hour I am doing it. That’s a lot on these old bones! This morning I saw three cats sitting in front of a house that a year or so ago I rescued three to four little feral kittens. These were new cats. I got out and placed what little dry food, mixed with one can of wet, and a dish of water under a tree in front of the house. With the very wet August we’ve had, with heavy downpours nearly daily, I have to be creative enough to find a spot that the food will stay dry due to the weather, so you look for heavy trees, near a house with an overhanging roof, etc. These three began to gobble the food as soon as I hopped back into my car.

I want to share a letter to the editor that hopefully will make the paper today - its about people dumping their pets at the shelter (which is better than dumping outside - but still, and under rare circumstances is it OK, not OK.)    Here it is, would love to hear any comments:

We're Moving!

Many of the animals being dropped off at shelters, are there because their *guardians* are moving.

That excuse is used over and over, and *sometimes*, I suppose, it is impossible to take your cat or dog along, when changing addresses.

However, I think that's the easy way out.

About 12 years ago, my neighbors retired and decided to move to Mexico. They had 2 cats and didn't give them up because they were moving. They traveled for a week in their truck to Ajijic, Mexico, where their cats enjoyed the rest of their lives.

This past week, the family across the street moved; this time to Switzerland. They also had 2 cats. Once again, they weren't left behind because *they were moving.* The family needed all sorts of credentials that had to be certified, additional vet visits, special carriers for under the seats, etc, etc. The cats arrived safely, to finish out their lives in a new place.

How easy it would have been, for these two families to abandon their pets, because they were moving. Instead, they did what's right, and I admire and respect them.

I. Hart
Pittsford, NY

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Happy Sunday!

Good Day!  I am writing post today because tomorrow I have a work golf event that I am working at, along with the rest of my co-workers, and I get the worst job of all, driving the beverage cart!  :)  Its been an average weekend out there, rain or shine, I go.  All the kitties are hungry and waiting for me each morning.  They all need homes, please consider yours for one or two of them!  I must get some pictures to show you how pretty, and precious they are.  In the meantime, my friend Carole shared this story with me, and its really heartwarming - I hope you feel the same.

The unconditional love of a dog is a powerful thing. Just ask John Unger of Bayfield, Wis.

For the past 19 years, Unger’s loyal companion has been a shepherd mix named Schoep. Unger learned two weeks ago that his dog had severe arthritis and may need to be put down soon. He was devastated — and also determined to help alleviate Schoep’s pain.

Unger knew that people suffering from arthritis respond well to water therapy, so he brought his aging dog to one of their favorite spots: Lake Superior. His idea was to take advantage of the lake’s higher-than-average temperatures this summer and let Schoep feel weightless and relaxed. Considering the grim prognosis from the veterinarian, Unger also called his photographer friend, Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, to see whether she had time to capture a special photo of Schoep just in case.

Stonehouse Hudson met them at the lake for about five minutes and snapped a few shots. A few days later on Aug. 1, she uploaded her favorite image of the man and his dog to Facebook — and an Internet sensation was unleashed.
As of Thursday, the photo on her Stonehouse Photography Facebook page had nearly 300,000 likes and 32,000 comments. Since the photo went viral, Unger has been trying to adjust to his sudden popularity.

“The first four days I was literally in shock,” he told He said he spent the first two days reading every single one of the comments on Facebook. Most of them offer words of encouragement for Schoep and admiration for Unger.

“I would read about five of them and lose it for a good ten minutes and then come back to it,” Unger said. “To see that this photo has lifted their spirits ... that right there lifts mine even higher.”

Unger actually began floating Schoep in Lake Superior 13 years ago — but for different reasons. It started because Schoep was a terrible swimmer and didn’t much like the water anyway. It took him several years to be convinced to fetch a ball in the lake, let alone swim in it.

“Whenever he got into the water he wouldn’t swim and would just put his paws on my shoulders and want to be held,” Unger recalled. “One of these times, all of a sudden, he was asleep. We’ve been doing it periodically since then.”

He’s stepped up the soaks in the lake since Schoep’s diagnosis. Unger said he can already see an improvement in Schoep’s limp, although he doesn’t think it will ever go away.

Unger adopted Schoep as a rescue dog with his then-fiancée nearly 20 years ago. Schoep had been abused as a puppy and it took months for him to trust Unger. But Unger didn’t give up. He stayed up with him that first night and then many nights after, coaxing him to trust him by sometimes getting on all fours. He said he wanted Schoep “to think of me as another dog and not a man trying to hurt him.”

A year or so after Unger and his fiancée adopted Schoep, the relationship broke up. The two shared custody of Schoep for a while until she left for graduate school in Colorado, and then it was just the man and his dog.

Unger said he has fought against depression for a lifetime, and after his relationship ended, he endured some tough years. On one particularly difficult night he took Schoep down to Lake Michigan, their usual evening walking spot back in those days.

“I went out on the breakwater and I was thinking about committing suicide,” he said. “And I was out there for about an hour just thinking about things and it came to the point of me thinking, ‘OK, this is the time.’ And I looked down at Schoep and I don’t know what it was ... he had a look like no other time he looked at me. I look back at it now and he knew something was wrong.”

It took that look by Schoep to help bring Unger back from the brink. “He just snapped me out of that moment ... we walked around the rest of the night until dawn.” The next day he thanked Schoep for saving his life.
Unger broke down and cried as he reflected on how much Schoep has given him, and how he has tried his best to always give him what he could. “I’ve never had a lot of money and especially going through the depression I couldn’t hold a job,” he said, adding, “Schoep has given me his all, no matter what the circumstances, even when I can’t get him the best food.”

After Stonehouse Hudson’s photo made such wide rounds online, strangers began reaching out to help. “A woman from Virginia basically paid for the latest laser therapy on his joints,” he said. “She paid for a full treatment, and I don’t know how much it is, but I know I couldn’t have done that.”

Schoep just had his second installment of treatments Wednesday, and has four more to go. Unger got a surprise when he took Schoep in for his latest appointment. As he walked in, his vet smiled at him. “What’s going on?” Unger asked. His vet said, “See all the stuff behind me?” Unger looked, and there were packages of glucosamine, treats and other treatments to help Schoep with joint pain.

Unger cried as he said, “People from all over are doing this. I can’t believe it. So much has come in already in donations that I don’t have to worry about anything at the vet anymore.”

All of the donors are anonymous. “How do I thank them?” he said. “It’s just such an amazing thing.”

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Simple things...

bring me joy.  As I was refilling the two bags of dry food this morning for tomorrow's feeding of at least 40-50 homeless cats in the inner city that I tend to 365 days a year, rain/snow/sleet/hail, at 5:15 am., after I had just come back from feeding this morning, I was remembering something from two years ago, on my birthday.  My neighbor had me over for cake and drinks, and presented me with a 16 pound bag of Dad's cat food as my birthday present.  I almost cried then and there, because what better gift to get for me, than cat food.  This past weekend, some friends chipped in and got me a few bags of Dads, including some smaller bags of cat food, which I mentioned a few posts ago that are so important to me because each morning I have been running out of dry food that I take with me, and to know there is a small stash in my trunk means the world to the cats that are waiting for it at the last stop or two.  Another friend dropped off a donation of food from a girl she works with (thank you Jill!) who reads my blog, and my friend Kristin recently brought me a small bag.  All these small gestures make me happy!  Its one less dollar (that I really don't have) that I need to spend, and its security for a week or so knowing I won't run out of food and have to skimp the last few spots.  So thank you everyone for helping me out, it means the world to me!  :)

I stopped at Wally's last night to visit with Larry, and to bring him some food and litter.  Larry seems lonely, but he is also clean, and sheltered and fed, so there are no complaints.   I brought him a new toy and he went crazy!  So nice to see an older kitty run around like crazy. 

My board is still up at 7th street, good thing!

I am headed to Newark this morning to check on an employee picnic that I helped to arrange, and saying prayers that the rain holds off during the 11-2 lunch hour, so that everyone can enjoy themselves thoroughly.  Tomorrow I am off on vacation, going to try to get a game of golf in that I've been trying to do for some time now.  I wish you a great day today!

"Life is not always fair.  Sometimes you can get
a sliver sliding down a rainbow."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday Morning Observations!

Am getting very dull with my titles these days.  Sorry.  :)

As I was driving to my first spot this morning, which has remained untouched, I passed a cat on the side of the road, and of course being in the neighborhood it was in, I am sure it was a homeless stray.  I immediately pulled over, got my dishes, food and water, and got out and placed food and water down for it under the tree.  Here is a picture of the little baby: 

At the next stop, I tried to get a picture of the kitties eating under the door I have placed there, with two of Kristin's huts under it on each end, so that the food I place under it is protected by the rain, and as I tried to snap a pic, my memory was full.  So that blew a picture taking morning.  Although I will share a few I have not posted here yet from a few days ago.  At my next spot (#2), the usual Big Red, Limpy (who is doing much better!), Talkie and "Limpy" Lucille.  Lucille has an injury to her front paw and cannot apply any pressure to it.  Poor thing.  The next few spots were quiet, as usual, never any problems there.  At spot #4, the owner of the house, he lives in Penfield, and years ago I called him to ask if it was OK to feed cats at his rental property on Hayward, and he is obviously OK with it because he comes and mows the grass and never trashes my stuff.  He just mows around it.  Its the next spot, spot #5 that I still don't know what to do with all those kitties.  Most have been spayed and neutered.  This is the location where the house is being renovated, and where the Devil Man lives a few doors down.  But would you believe, he has not been trashing my bowl and plate I have been leaving there.  Maybe something made sense to him in my rant with him a few weeks back.  Maybe the comment 'you are going straight to hell' made him think?  HA.  I wonder.  I hope and pray that he has had a change of heart. 

Yesterday, on my lunch, I drove over the Seventh and had a look around.  No kids, no one in the lot where they took all my stuff from.  After work I took another drive over and saw Maria on her porch.  We said hello, and she pointed out a few of the kids she has seen in the lot.  I pointed out a neighbor across the street on his porch and told her it was useless for me to talk to him because he didn't speak much English.  Maria offered to go over to be the interpreter.  I wound up talking to the man, who was obviously drunk and started condescending rude remarks about 'pussies'.  What a jerk.  I wound up ignoring him, and speaking to four young boys.  I told them about how scared the kitties were, that their home was destroyed, and I asked them to protect these kitties.  They were good boys, I think, and promised to keep an eye out for anyone harming any new shelter I put up.  I placed a large board against the building this morning, and will monitor it the area again today.  Fingers crossed.  At some point, I will place a new hut there with straw for the cold weather that will soon enough be coming out way.   The picture below is of Blackie, a regular at Seventh.  He is waiting for me every morning.

New Mom who looks like a Van Gogh painting was at Sparkles and Limpy #2's spot, very very hungry.   I must figure out a sweet name for her.  She is not there every day, I wonder where she goes, and I wonder where her kittens are.  At my spot on Second, I discovered that one of the kittens I've been feeding, who is a little wild but will let me touch her, either is, or has been pregnant.  A very tiny kitty, can you imagine.  She has many toes, is gray with white tux on her front.  Very very cute little baby, although it was hard to get my hand under her to know for sure.

This week I spotted the dog that I've been mentioning for months now on Central.  The poor thing is very timid and afraid.  I called 911 about her, for the 15th time I am sure.  I always place dog food and water down for her.  Not sure if she eats it.   

Finally, on my way back home, I stopped at my 5th spot, where the workers are, and got out of my car.  As I was brushing my teeth this morning, I thought to do this and couldn't believe I was actually doing it!  I walked up to one of the workers who I had spoken to originally about having to move the cat food off the porch of the house they were rebuilding, and said "you know how I've been feeding these cats for a long time now, and then you guys come along and are doing your job, of course, and I had to move the cats food and shelter, but have no where to put it out somewhere safe and dry" and then I said "I was thinking maybe you could build me a cat shelter", and I showed him with my hands how big, how wide, that it should have a door at the top to open to place straw into, and a hole on the side at the bottom for the cats to go into, etc....  I said it would be good publicity for you because I would mention you in my blog, and it would also be doing a good thing for these animals.  I couldn't believe my nerve, but then again, I could!  :)  He told me he would have to check with his boss first because he didn't want to lose his job over it.  I asked him about the lot next to the house and he did confirm that the City owns it.  Thats where I've been placing their food bowls for now, but there is no shelter when it rains, which it is supposed to do all weekend starting today.  So, we will see.  I told the guy he had all the tools to make me a hut and that it wouldn't take him long!  We will see!   So, that was my morning, and how was yours?  :)  PS, take a look at Butters!  Took this picture yesterday!   He is still up for grabs!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Seventh Street Part Two

Yesterday, on my lunch, I went to this street I have had problems with by either kids, or adults, trashing and removing my stuff for the cats.  I would like to think its kids rather than adults, because it would be easier dealing with kids, if I can catch them.  I was bound and determined to find someone to talk to about it.  I drove down the street slowly, and saw a couple of young girls walking.  I told them about the problem, and gave them my name and number (I have met one of the girls mother - Angela - in the past), and asked them to call me if they see any kids there.  I then saw a woman in a house almost directly across the lot where all this is taking place, and I pulled over.  Turned out to be a nice spanish woman named Maria.  We talked for a while, she promised to keep an eye out on the field there, and even agreed that I could take some of the boards she had in her garage after I asked her about them.  Told her I would come by in the early morning and take a few.  I wrote out a note also to leave for the kids or who ever - saying 'they were not being watched, not to touch my stuff, that I would find them, and the words police and criminal mischief.  Didn't leave that today because I picked up a board somewhere else and layed it on the ground.  Its like a tester.  I will go over again sometime this morning to check on it.  I drove to this area after work also yesterday and saw Angela sitting on her porch.  She lives a few houses down on the same side, and she promised me she would talk to the neighbors and the kids and make sure they don't do anything.  We will see.  She totally understood where I was coming from about that being all the cats had was that one shelter.   I told her how it took school kids a month to build the hut, and someone destroyed it in a day.

This spot is in the back of a lot, and has the back of a garage from the street over as the wall that I lean the board against.  So, wish me luck.  I will try this again today!

Here are a few more pictures I've kept of all the babies I've rescued and adopted out.






Boris & Toonces