Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Barn Cats

HOW IT WORKS


Barn Cats are supposed to be provided with these necessities:

  • An initial safe holding area such as a small storage room where they can be held and acclimated for 1-2 weeks 
  • Sufficient shelter, especially during harsh weather
  • Dry cat food given on a regular basis
  • Fresh, clean water at all times
  • An environment free from aggressive dogs or other menacing animals.
I have placed four cats in barns since I've been involved in this cat business.  The first oneI took off the streets was from Seventh, and the next two from Central.  This was YEARS ago, maybe three or four, and I remember their names as being Rex, Max and Tommy.  They were all great kitties, and year after year I felt so bad for them, in fact it was wintertime and they were living on the corner of Central and Goodman, and it was just pathetic to see them every day.  I had heard about someone who was looking for barn cats, got in touch, and was lucky enough to bring all three out to her.  She kept them in separate cages in her garage for a few weeks, had one neutered during that time period, and finally set them free.  They are there to this day.  Mary Ann lives in Webster and has an old horse barn on her property that they live in if they aren't in the garage waiting for her to spoil them.  Such a perfect situation that was.

This past summer I had a chance to bring one of my newly spayed (pregnant) females I rescued from Garson I think to a barn situation in Ontario through Karen at Four Legged Friends, along with a kitty that she had provided for them.  I am not sure how that fared - because unfortunately, when I am not allowed or able to be the point person in situations like this, including adopting out my cats, I don't have the ability to do check ups on them, but last I heard, early summer, the kitties were still there.  I am not happy about that, but sometimes you get into desperate situations where you don't want to place the cat back on the street after a neutering, and this is better than that.

I have another chance to rescue a cat, one of dozens that I feed each day, and turn it into a barn cat.  Through Julie's website, at Another Chance Pet Rescue, she has a plea out for barn owners to take in cats.  Someone responded this past week, and Julie was able to give one of the kitties she was feeding on her own street a chance at having a different kind of life in a barn, rather than on a street.  They wanted a second cat to this one, so Julie thought of me.  Thank you Julie!  In the past four days now, since I've known about this, its been very difficult to choose just the right one. They are all so needy, and susceptible to their environments.  And do I take this one away from that one - these cats are grouped together like families in some of the spots I feed at.  But I am thinking about Grady (Grey Cat on Third).  He hangs with Bully, they hiss and swat at each other to be the center of attention when I arrive at the pathetic porch of the abandoned, graffiteed house that I feed them on.  He is a beautiful pure grey cat that would make someone very happy, but I can't find a home for him.  So I am thinking he might be the one.  I just hate leaving him each day.

I must end this now, I could go on and on, and I will give you updates on Big Red (now called Sandy) and Puddles/Elvis (now called Baby Montego) as soon as I am able.  Oh, and don't forget about Butters (now called Thurston) and Pumpkin and Magic! 



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ADIOS Sandy!

After listening to wind gusts at nearly 60 mph, feeling my house shake, and non-stop thinking about the cats each time I woke last night, all was fairly well in the hood this morning.  There were a few shelters I was very iffy about, after trying to make them as secure as I could do alone yesterday morning, but they managed to stay upright.   At one point, I had thought about not going out for one morning of the year, fearing that it would be terrible and the cats would not even be around in this fearsome weather, but the rain had stopped briefly by 5 am., the stars were out, it was fairly warm, and the winds had died down considerably.  I picked up a few soggy wet towels and replaced them with dry, and patted a few heads.  Its amazing the conditions that animals survive in.  The smarter ones find shelters somewhere - under porches, on porches, or what have you, and the less smarter kitties will be soaking wet.  I have some of both!

The following is some great winter weather tips for sheltering:

The weather report warns that a winter storm is moving into the New York area. Ten to 12 inches of snow are expected to fall by morning. Joan Scroggs leaves her home on Long Island and heads for the 12 feral cat colonies she has tended seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, for 14 years. At each colony, Scroggs inspects the handmade cat shelters to determine if the seams are sealed and the boxes are elevated adequately to keep cats high and dry. She angles a board in front of each shelter to protect the occupants from wind and blowing snow. Scroggs knows that once the storm hits, she must return to each shelter periodically during the night to dig out a path so the cats can come and go. Caring for feral cats involves much more than simply feeding them, which oftenr esults in cats congregating and breeding more than they might if individual cats roamed freely. Diehard soldiers such as Scroggs know that being a caregiver is a year- round responsibility that involves trapping, vaccinating and spaying or neutering the cats prior to releasing them again. But tending cat colonies is especially arduous when temperatures drop and the weather becomes harsh. Even though feral cats develop a thick coat in the fall to keep them warm, they can die from exposure if at least some protection from the elements is not available.


Shelter Do’s and Don’ts

With a little ingenuity, caretakers can provide the added warmth that these cats need by constructing a homemade shelter. A shelter may provide warmth for two, three or more cats, depending on its size and the sociability of the cats. Feral felines who compete for food at other times of the year may find they are willing to overlook their differences when temperatures drop. "There are no enemies in a snowstorm," says another veteran caregiver, Joanna Harkin, an attorney and director of Alliance for Stray Animals and People (ASAP), a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C.

The reason for these newfound alliances is a practical one. "Cats give each other body warmth in the cold months," explains Louise Holton, president of Alley Cat Allies, another Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to non lethal feral cat control. Holton has seen as many as 12 cats come out of one shelter during a blizzard.

Before constructing a shelter, be sure to obtain permission from the landowner on whose property it is to be placed. Alley Cat Allies recommends that a shelter be at least two feet by three feet long and 18 inches high. It should have an opening small enough to prevent dogs or other large animals from entering and a flap or L-shaped entryway to keep the cold air from blowing in. And bigger shelters are not necessarily better. The body heat generated by the cats huddling inside tends to disperse, leaving the interior of the shelter as cold as the weather outside. Ideally, the shelter should be small enough to transport in your vehicle to the colony site.

Shelters can be built of wood or other materials and need not be complex. Alley Cat Allies publishes a fact sheet with plans for building an insulated, wooden cat shelter (see "Feral Cat Resources"). The plans include materials needed and schematics for cutting the wood and insulation. Materials for one of their wooden shelters should run about $25-$30 at your local lumberyard. For about $25, Scroggs constructs boxes made of two-inch-thick home insulation boards. The boards come in large sheets at home supply stores. She seals the seams using a silicone gun to prevent cold air from entering. Scroggs then elevates the shelter on cinder blocks and places a flat piece of wood on top to weigh it down.

You can make an "instant" shelter from a cardboard box with a trash bag taped over it. Cardboard boxes from moving companies or ones in which computer equipment is packed make sturdy little dens and can be obtained for little or no cost. Tape a few boxes together to create a hallway. "One can be creative with cardboard," says Harkin.

Once the boxes are positioned, throw leaves over them so that they’ll remain out of sight. Another option is to use milk crates wired together and covered with plastic. For those who have no construction skills, doghouses that are winterized with plastic coverings or insulation make convenient cat shelters. Reduce the size of the original doorway, and install a flap on the opening to keep out cold air and wind.

A shelter should sit a few inches off the ground on bricks, blocks or pallets (wooden platforms used for unloading boxed goods) to keep it from becoming waterlogged. Shipping firms or hardware, farm or pet stores may be able to provide discarded pallets or offer advice on where to obtain them. "As long as the cats stay dry, they can survive any climate," says Holton. During snowstorms, dig out a pathway from the shelter so the cats can get in and out. Although some areas of the country have relatively mild winters, providing shelter to protect the cats from the elements is still important. At California Polytechnic State University in San Lius Obispo, members of the Cal Poly Feral Cat Program built 12 feral cat shelters out of dark green, 55-gallon trash cans, cutting a doorway out of the side of each. "We like these better than dog houses because we can conceal them in the shrubs," says Edie Griffin-Shaw, director of the program.

Alley Cat Allies recommends the use of hardwood shavings (no cedar or pine), straw or fake sheepskin as bedding in the shelter. "Never use towels, blankets or sheets because they retain moisture," says Holton. Scroggs places bed sheets made from cut Mylar,’ a space-age product that retains body heat, in her shelters. These sheets can be found in the home section of department stores and are easily cut to size.

Dinnertime!

To protect food and water from the elements, place them in a covered shelter that will also protect the cats as they eat or drink. A stand with a sloping roof, open on two sides and off the ground, may be all that is needed for several cats to eat together. The same kind of trash cans used for shelter at Cal Poly also serve as protection for food and water. The campus also uses three-sided, covered wooden boxes to house the food and protect the cats. "The boxes are open enough that the cats don’t feel trapped," says Griffin-Shaw. Providing fresh food and water at a consistent time each day is especially important during the winter. Feral cats soon learn when the food arrives and will be waiting, even if in hiding, for a fresh supply of rations. Scroggs visits her 12 colonies once a day at a set time. "The cats know when I’m coming, so they get some of the canned food before it freezes," says Scroggs. Having backup volunteers to care for the colony is important throughout the year, but takes on special significance during inclement weather, when getting to a site at a consistent time is so vital.

If you know your colony will eat right away, warm up the canned food prior to taking it to the site. Always leave dry food, because canned will freeze, advises Holton. To keep food dry and relatively warm, Scroggs carries it in insulated bags and sets it inside doggie houses that have flip-up roofs. Alley Cat Allies estimates that a caretaker will spend $700 to $750 per year for a colony of 10 cats. That includes a 20-pound bag of dry food and two cases of canned per month. Cats need extra calories in the winter to maintain their energy levels, so expect to provide the colony residents with extra rations, which will drive up the feeding costs. Scroggs negotiated a discount at the pet store where she buys the food to feed the nearly 80 cats she tends. Taking hot water to the feeding stations helps keep it drinkable for a while before it freezes. If you have a feeding station near an electrical outlet, electrically powered water bowls designed to keep the water above freezing are an option. In most colony locations, however, these are impractical.

Veterinary care even in the winter, trapping and sexually altering the colony residents is important. The birthing season can begin as early as February and may occur more frequently among cats who live closely together. Work with spay/neuter groups to obtain the necessary surgery at a reduced cost. A spay may cost anywhere from $65 to $120, depending on your geographic area and whether the female is in heat. A neuter runs between $25 and $50. Going through a spay/neuter organization may reduce the cost by as much as half. Ask the veterinarian to notch a cat’s ear when it is neutered or spayed so that it will be easier to visually determine which cats have had the surgery. Cats who are spayed or neutered, provided with shelter, fed on a consistent basis and vaccinated usually become hardy enough to survive the cold winters, although older cats may have difficulty.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Batten Down the Hatch!

What a weekend. That’s all I can say. I had Friday off, but this morning I was thinking to myself, this cat stuff is a full-time job, I don’t know how I do it. I don’t know how I still carry out a full-time paid job! I dream about cats, I think about cats, and I actually DO a lot for cats! Although there are many wonderful people in my life who help carry the burden with me occasionally. I am forever grateful for that.


First bit of good news: Big Red has been taken off the street, from Garson Avenue to be exact, where he waited for me every single morning on the porch of a boarded up house, through the worst of seasons, year after year. I have seen Big Red with terrible wounds to his neck, severe ear problems which would cause him to scratch himself violently with his foot and terrible noises came out of his throat while doing so. He has been in decline, until he was fixed this past summer, where he also had his shots and ears treated. He has been pretty good ever since, but I knew this gentle old soul needed a home, and fast. He went from keeping a distance from me years ago, to now letting me pick him up each morning to give him a hug and scratch. My wonderful new friend Maree, and her husband Joe, have been thinking about Big Red from my postings on my blog, and offered to adopt him. He was waiting for me to get him on Saturday morning, with no fuss when I gently placed him in the carrier. He must have been someone’s pet at one time as he is not feral, but he has had some hard living on the streets for many years, regardless. I can’t begin to tell you how special you are to adopt a senior cat. It’s a pure act of love and selflessness. I will continue to hear of Big Red – newly renamed SANDY in honor of Tropical Storm Sandy coming through, through Maree’s daily report to me.



A second bit of great news: Puddles a/k/a Elvis has been adopted! My high school friend Donna and her husband Dan have been wanting a black and white kitty for a while now, they were thinking of adopting Rufus, but they’ve had a lot on their plate with moving to a new house, and they were finally ready, and with Rufus now acclimated pretty much, I really needed to find Puddles a home. So off he went Sunday morning. Its very hard to give up any of the cats I rescue, I get so attached to them, and I know its stressful for them to go to new situations also, but I know its thebest thing to do for them, and for me, because it allows me to save more cats. And that’s the bottom line right there. So, I am now ‘kittenless.’ 


A third bit of news – if you will recall, Red (#1) and Boots on Hayward lost their shelter hut that was on the porch of a boarded up house for years now, and someone has finally moved in, and placed everything to the curb. I tried to place food on a neighboring house that I was told by someone on the street that they liked cats, and always leaving my phone number, got a call telling me to stop it. I’ve been trying since Thursday to coax the cats down the street to the other Hayward shelter on the side of a house where the landlord allows me to feed and shelter, but with no luck getting them down the ten or so houses away. My friend Kristin bravely came with me on Saturday to check out the situation and we saw a sign on the porch of the house and it read: “Do not put cat food on this porch. F_ _ _ OFF OR GET SHOT.” I wish I had taken a picture of that, and the next morning it was not there. That was a little intimidating, don’t you think? So, again I tried this morning to coax them by cat calling from the new location, and sure enough they came. I pray they continue to come and eat there, and shelter themselves from the weather. Red is a beautiful boy, very thin, and Boots is a real cutie too. Black with white puffs on him. They both need to be removed from the street because of their sweetness. Spread the word~!

Speaking of weather, I went around to each shelter this morning trying to secure them as best as I could. With the winds expected to go over 50 mph, I am not sure how stable the boards and boxes will be – I can only pray that they keep, and that the cats know enough to find safe shelter. Someone took the boards from my Webster/Ferndale shelter I had so sturdily built. I lose my faith in humanity just a little bit each time. I wound up finding a board from the empty garage of the house that was being renovated and dragging the huge thing over myself. I had to place something there. It is not a thick board, so I pray it doesn’t blow over.

I also have a chance to place a cat into a barn situation through Another Chance Pet Rescue, but am minus a cage, and I am waiting for it to be returned to me since I placed cats over the summer through Four Legged Friends. I have a difficult choice with this also because there are just so many cats out there that I have faith will be adopted someday, or the ones I would place in a barn are not fixed yet.

One last thing – as this is turning into a novel, since the Lollipop trap and neuter grant I’ve been allowed to participate in, I have been successful – with the help of Another Chance Pet Rescue and Laura – in neutering 55 cats since the springtime. I would say that’s a pretty awesome number.

Stay dry and keep your hatches battened!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Decisions Decisions

This is for Friday - I have a vacation day and wanted to be sure to get this out there.

I struggle with ethical decisions constantly, and have for many years in doing what I do for cats.  I have had to make some very hard decisions on what is right for a cat, in so many ways.  Yesterday, I had the choice of leaving a cat at Lollipop, after they contacted me and said they deemed Orangie very friendly and adoptable and offered the opportunity to keep her at Lollipop for five days, and then if no one claimed her, they would spay her and put her up for adoption.  I had to make this decision quickly (being at work with people around hearing my conversation, and knowing they had to get her spayed if I chose not to have her kept by them), and when I am faced with being put on the spot and having to make a quick decisions, I usually regret the one I make.  Someone pointed out to me that perhaps this cat belongs to someone on the street I trapped it at.  Maybe this is someone's only joy and they loved it as best as they could.  What about the cat living its next few weeks, until adopted, in a cage.  But what about me feeding this cat every day at 5:30 am. in a bad neighborhood?  How do I know that someone is caring for this cat?  Then I started thinking about how another percentage of cat lovers feel - that cats should be allowed to go outdoors.  Here are the pros and cons of this, in my opinion:

Pros (what I say):

1.Injury or death by vehicles
2.Poisoned intentionally or accidentally
3.Injury or death by fighting with other cats
4.Infectious diseases contracted from other cats: FIV, Leukemia
5.Parasites: fleas, ticks, ringworm
6.Injury or death by sadists
7.Injury or death by dogs or predators
8.Killing of wildlife
9.Getting lost, picked up by animal control
10.Getting stolen as "bait" for illicit gaming
11.Problems with neighbors: cats littering their yards - getting shot at.
12, Freezing to death.

Cons (what they say):

1.Indoor cats are lazy, and don't get the exercise they need.
2.Cats by their very nature deserve the freedom of outdoor life.
3.The cats love the outdoors, fresh air and sunshine

 I do believe in personal responsibility for our decisions, and ultimately, our decisions may cost us the loss of a very good friend and family member. It's a matter of weighing the benefits against the risks, and being willing to suffer the consequences of our decisions.

I called within the hour and tried to reverse my decision on this cat, to get it back, let her back out onto the street after being spayed, and hope for the best.  But it may be too late, and I have to live with another decision I made not knowing if it was the wrong one, or the right one. 

I got another e-mail soon after that about a second cat that Laura trapped from Central this morning.  Sylvester died during surgery today.   May God rest his weary soul. 

Update:  I chose not to take Orangie back - to give her a chance for adoption.  I weighed my options again, and I realized that if by chance this cat did not have a home, one of the above situations would happen to this cat, one of four that I feed there on that corner on a daily basis, and have watched them suffer through the cold, and sickness, and injury.  Orangie reminds me of an orange cat I found on Third two years ago in the dead of winter, frozen solid, just hanging out of the straw under the porch.  I have to remember these instances when making the decision I made today about her.  I have to believe I am doing the best I can for them.

A Few Fries Short of a Happy Meal...

Its not that I am not a smart person, but sometimes I don’t use the full capacity of the knowledge and common sense that God has allowed me to develop over the years. I could give you a million reasons why I say this, but I won’t. If anyone reading this knows me, you can probably think of at least once instance where you rolled your eyes, or shook your head from side to side, or just plain walked away or hung up in silence. I can tell you this though, I am going to try to program phone numbers back into my phone after having lost all numbers when my phone died months ago, rather than relying on memory. I am getting too old for that.


I was able to trap this little girl in the photo on Garson .  A very pretty, sweet little kitty that once again I will have a VERY hard time placing back on the street due to her sweetness. I didn’t have luck at the second Hayward address that I placed the other trap at. I did however try to scope out a new porch to place the food down for Red, Boots, and the other two that are at the first Hayward address, that is closer to the dead end of the street, where their shelter was moved off the porch yesterday. I then set the trap up at Short Street, left it with the unneutered male kitty that runs after my car when I leave sniffing at the tuna inside it, and drove off to do finish my feedings – came back twice, no luck. I get very upset when I am not able to fill spots available to me for TNR, but I also realize how hard it is for me to stop at 15 locations and place food down, and drive back and forth checking on traps, all before 6:30, which is my deadline in order for me to get home, pack food for the next morning, and get myself ready and to work on time. On top of that, the day before I have to figure out where I am going to trap, and then have a back up plan if that spot doesn’t work out so I leave little food at each of my spots the day before TNR. But its hard in that time frame also to move the trap from one spot to another, all the while trying to get the cats fed knowing I have to be home soon. Its tough, that’s all I can say. I guess I need to assess this a little bit better for the next time. Its hard – for me, that’s all I can say.

The one constant is Laura, who is a blessing. She gives selflessly to other people’s causes. She helps me entirely from the goodness of her heart. And I thank her for that. And I hope she was able to trap a second kitty at Central so that I don’t feel as guilty!

I got an e-mail from a stranger yesterday that surprised me. It broke my heart at the same time. It said (and its starts off as if we’ve had prior conversation):

“Unfortunately, this cat has aids, but not leukemia. I manage properties and have tenants that don't take care of their animals. I have rescued many dogs and currently have 7 dogs living at my house for the last 2.5 years.
My tenant left the pregnant cat at my apt. and moved. My friend took her in and I paid the bills. She gave birth to six kittens, but 5 made it. My friend helped nurse the 5 kittens and found homes for all of them. Because she has 3 cats of her own, she did not want to take the mother cat in.
I can pay to have the cat spayed, but with my dogs, I can't keep her here. I have her at my office right now, but one of my employees is allergic to her. Do you have any suggestions? Or is my only resort is to put her to sleep?”

At this point I wrote back to her and asked her how she found my e-mail address, told her my own situation and urged her to do the right thing and check out every resource possible, which included all rescue groups, and Craigslist. I thanked her for taking responsibility, hoping that would trigger her to do the right thing and not have the cat put to sleep. Here was her response:
“My husband found your blog by googling Rochester Cat Rescue. We now have the cat in our basement for now. We actually worked through habitat for cats where I paid to spay & neuter 5 ferral cats that lived behind my office.

I am also disgusted with people who just dump their animals out the back door or just leave them in their basement without food, eating their own poop. I think Habitat for Cats will help me get her spayed for $85. My vet is going to give us flea medicine for her. She thinks we may be able to find someone who has an HIV cat that wants a friend. She is very friendly. She got sick because the tenant put her out the back door. I will keep looking.

Thank you for your help. Cheryl and the never ending dog and cat and animal and fish rescue."
I wish I could help people and I hope I don’t get more requests for help. Its so sad knowing I can’t help them. I have enough on my plate as it is. I can only guide them to check out the few resources we have in this city, and encourage them to find it in their hearts to do the right thing, no matter what the cost.

Here are a few pictures I took this morning of little kitten Elvis, who needs to find a home quick!  Please pass on! 






Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It was a damp and foggy morning...

Sounds like the beginning of a good ghost story!  But its just a normal description of the fall weather here in Rochester!

At my fourth stop, where Red (not to be confused with Big Red) and Boots hang on Hayward, I have always had a nice wooden hut and food dishes on the porch.  I have rescued quite a few cats from this spot - Emma, Rufus, Butters, to name just a few.   Recently, if you will recall, I went there one morning and found the worker inside and we had a nice chat, at 5:30  in the morning, and he was telling me that someone was going to be renting the couple of years now boarded up house.  So I was warned, but you are never prepared to pull up and find your stuff on the side of road.  Your first instinct is to protect the cats that are going to be displaced.  So, I stood there wondering what to do.  They were hungry and waiting for me, all four kitties.  A young black woman came out of the house across the street to open her metal gate so she could leave, assuming, for work.  I greeted her, walked over and asked her is she knew of any vacant houses on this dead end street.  She pointed to a few that were newly occupied, and I told her my dilemma, and she pointed to a house across the way and said she loves animals, but it was 5:30 am. and I couldn't just go knocking on someone's door at that time.  So I placed the bowls under a tree in front of her house while the kitties gathered around waiting for me to put the food down, and then left a note on the porch door where I was kicked off and it read "that was cruel to do to the cats" and left my cell number.  Just in case they wanted to call me and I could give them a piece of my mind, or they might even suggest something else for the cats.  I had the hut removed and brought to the side of the house just down a ways from there - where the owner allows me to feed.  I may have to try coaxing these cats to this location, even though it will be a stretch.  There is always some upheaval, some drama, happening on my route.

I've been seeing this little girl for weeks now too.  Long haired, beautiful, sweet and shy.  She is out at 5:25 every morning.  Hungry, wet.  I took this photo of her this morning.  Must keep my eye on her.  She is not eartipped, nor does she feel pregnant.


Tomorrow is TNR Thursday, and I am hoping to get a few kitties - I left minimal food at each of my locations just in case one or the other doesn't work out.  Mind you, I have ONE HOUR to feed and TNR, thats a lot to accomplish.  Laura will help me with transport, and hopefully be a back up for me if I can't get two kitties, which is my allotment at Lollipop.  So, wish me luck on that one. 

I want to share a few pictures of Butters/Thurston in his new home.  I am so thankful to get updates from his mommy!  I have yet to hear from the woman who took in Magic and Pumpkin, but praying I do soon.  When you rescue a kitten, your heart melts.  There is more of an emotional attachment because of their baby like qualities.  Their little cries, their dependency on you, they need more cuddling that they can't get from their mom anymore because she is not around (in Butter's case).  So adopting these babies out was hard for me as I am used to rescuing the adult cats. 



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Torrential Tuesday

Picture this:  Its 3 am., and you are awoken by a newly rescued kitten - Elvis (formerly Puddles) biting your toe, so you do your best to kick your leg under the cover in one fell swoop and the cat goes flying across the room - well, thats kidding, but thats what you WANT to do.  So the cat goes flying off the bed.  You try to go back to sleep, but now everyone is waking, the other cats are starting to play, walk on top of you to get you up to feed them, the dog starts whining because he needs to do his business.  Its 3:10 and you SO do not want to get up.  But you do for the sake of the dog, who has bladder cancer, and you feel bad about making him 'hold it', and even if you don't get up, he will have his usual accident if he isn't wearing the diaper he is now wearing at night.  So you get up really quick, and get back into bed really quick hoping to grab that last forty minutes of sleep before the 4 am. alarm goes off, but you lay there with the cats still hovering over you.  You fall back asleep until 4 am. and begrudgingly get out of bed, not quite ready to start a new day, and not happy about what awaits you as you hear the raindrops falling on the skylight.


You then spend the next half hour letting puppy back out for his business, and feeding the cats - the ones that are still getting a treat of wet food in the morning - Vanessa, because she is a new rescue and her kittens are gone, Cinnamon, who is skin and bone and he so loves his wet food, Elvis, because he is a kitten, Boris, because he has FIV and has a voracious appetite, and you feel bad for him, and then there are the porch kitties, the ones that come in out of the rain, that are homeless in my own neighborhood!  But they always have food and shelter on my porch when they need it.  They only show up at night, and in the morning for a treat of wet food.

I then prepare for my usual morning route, from 5:11 am (when I get out of my chair after watching a little news and sipping a pumpkin spiced coffee trying to wake up) to 6:20 or so when I pull back up at the house.  During that time frame I will have fed and placed water down for at least 30 cats that I can see, petted at least 15 of their heads, held around 3 of those while telling them I will 'have a home for them soon' knowing full well that its most likely not really true.  I will have trudged to their shelters, some farther back in muddy lots than others.  This morning it was pouring so its usually involving being out in the worst of weather.  Meanwhile the cats you petted are wet because their tiny brains don't allow them to know to get out of the rain.

This is what a day in the life of Janine consists of.  Sounds wonderful, eh?  Wanna join me?  :)  Even if you did, I would still be begging each and every person to help me take one lonely desperate baby that I am able to pet off the street, either by adoption or foster, or even place in a barn situation.  If you could see what I see..... 

Just a side note on Puddles aka Elvis.  He is now named that because I love Elvis, and Puddles has a distinct 'sideburn' on one side of his head.  SO CUTE.   I will find another kitty that deserves the name Puddles.

"What I am looking for is a blessing that is not in disguise."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Miraculous Monday!


Well, its been a great weekend.  Well, great in the fact that Pumpkin and Magic were adopted out on Saturday!  It was a complete surprise.  I was meeting Sue from Another Chance Dog Rescue (soon to be Susie Q Dog Rescue) for lunch to thank her for the many things she has done for me over the years, and to get a painting I bid on at her last fundraiser that I wound up winning but wasn't there at the end of the evening to retrieve.  I bid $10 on a beautiful flower abstract painting to brighten up Wally's home.  He has nothing on his bare dull colored walls, and I figured it would be nice to have something pretty to see when he comes home.  About an hour before I left the house Sue called me and asked if I still had Pumpkin because someone contacted her, through Sue's website that had pictures of Butters, Pumpkin and Magic posted for adoption, and was interested in him!  I then asked Sue if she would ask if the person would also consider Magic, and sure enough, Sue asked me to transport both along!  They are now in their new forever home, and at last conversation on Sunday, the kittens were adjusting well with their two new canine siblings, mommy and daddy, and were going to the vets as soon as the appointment was made today for their shots and neutering!  What wonderful luck that is.  Thank you Sue for allowing that to happen!

Speaking of Wally, who took in Larry for me when I needed to find a home quickly for the little guy, his cell phone was stolen from his porch on Saturday.  Wally called me Saturday and told me about it.  He was able to get another one quickly, the same day.  In the meantime, yesterday, I was driving over to Wally's to bring him some meatloaf and mashed potatoes I had made for dinner, and my cell phone rang.  It was from Wally's phone, which he was able to keep the same number on his new phone.  The voice was that of a young black male, and I asked him what he was doing with the phone, someone else's, an old man's phone to be exact, and he said he found it.  I then said 'can I get it back for my friend, and this guy asked what he could get in return.  I told him I had some meatloaf, fresh bisquits, and a frozen TV dinner, that I had nothing else.  He wound up telling me to drive down a certain street, right near Wally's and he would trade me the meatloaf for the phone.  Crazy.  I KNOW.  But it was broad daylight, and I felt safe.  The guy told me to park on the side of the street, and he would come out.  I pulled over for a second and then turned around in the driveway to face the opposite way, and saw the kid come out of a house, which I got the number of, and through a small crack in the window, I looked at the kid and said 'are you serious, you are trying to barter a phone that you 'found' for meatloaf?  I wound up giving him the frozen dinner and the bisquits, and drove off telling him that I was sure God was proud of him!  He got my point.  And I got Wally's phone, which he now had no use for.  But its the point of the matter!!!  These kids can't get away with stuff like this!  But Wally would not press charges, and I had to let it go.  I know, I am NUTS.

An update on Butters:  brought tears to my eyes!  "Lovey" is another rescue kitten, around the same age as Butters, now called Thurston.  Robyn writes:  "Thank you all for bringing Lovey and Thurston to us!!!!  I apologize for any repeats in these pics, but I of course, I could look at these pictures every day!  Lovey and Thurston - 97% of the time are cuddle-bugs together - of course they have their moments (usually in the morning) - when they rip/tear around the house and at/with each other, sound like a herd of Elephants (for two kittens) - and then you find them in the positions of these pics on their on accord!"

I placed some of the straw I had been holding in my garage around some of my spots this weekend.  I am trying my best to prepare the shelters for what is coming, which as you can tell by now, I am DREADING.  Not only for the cats enduring the harsh and deadly weather, but for myself going out into it too.  It takes a toll on me, as I am not getting any younger, which I've realized this past year, with all of my aches and pains.   My wish list for today?  Heavy tarp, the kind you rake leaves on to, and small bowls.  Ideal would be with a flat bottom, so that they can't be blown away by the wind as easily, and about the size of your head, well, maybe about 20 inches in circumference?  OK, I am getting a little wierd here, but you get my drift.  The paper plates I am using just aren't going to withstand the weather, as I am seeing now with all the rain we've had.  Plus the wind blows the paper all over the place.  So those are the two main items on my wishlist.  If it can't be a tarp, I would love to at least have a nice heavy duty table cloth, plastic.   Tomorrow I will have some details and descriptions of my spots.  I have some "regulars" that I want to share a bit about - in hopes that maybe someone would want to adopt or foster any of these sweet souls out there that are just waiting for me to take them away from their miserable lives in the hood. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mud

MUD  [muhd]  noun, verb, mud·ded, mud·ding
noun
1. wet, soft earth or earthy matter, as on the ground after rain, at the bottom of a pond, or along the banks of a river; mire.
2. Informal . scandalous or malicious assertions or information: The opposition threw a lot of mud at our candidate.
3. Slang . brewed coffee, especially when strong or bitter.
4. a mixture of chemicals and other substances pumped into a drilling rig chiefly as a lubricant for the bit and shaft.

It was very muddy out this morning.  We had rain overnight, and it was very damp and wet and foggy out.  All the kitties were waiting.  I must find a home for Big Red, he is a sweet sweet boy who has been on the streets far too long, and I am not sure how I will shelter him from the very bad weather we will soon be getting.   Please, if anyone knows of a barn situation, which would be my last recourse, please let me know.  I must help this senior cat.


The cat in the picture below that I trapped for neutering on Short Street yesterday spent the night on my porch in the carrier he was placed in after surgery, but as I look at the picture, I don't see his ear tipped, which I am a bit confused about, because they do tip ears when brought to either Lollipop or HFC clinics.    The other cat that I helped the woman out with trapping yesterday has been held at Lollipop as 'evidence.'  Apparently there was an investigation and seizure at the woman's house by the Humane Society and they came and took all her cats and boarded her house up and labelled it as uninhabitable.  I can't comment on the details, but its a very sad situation.  For all parties around.  Rochester and five of its surrounding counties have a crisis on their hands with the Humane Society enforcement with two people handling this huge area.  You can imagine how hardened these officers have become, which has left them with no sympathy for the caregivers of animals.  People like me included.  We have no one protecting our animals, nor asserting the rights of animals.  I could go on and on but for the time being, I will have to zip it.  
 
I wish you all a good weekend, and please say a prayer for the animals! 
 
PS, please keep in mind the three kitties that need fostering or adopting - Puddles, Magic, and Pumpkin!  I need to be able to save more!
 
Never act until you have clearly answered the question: 
"What happens if I do nothing?"
 

 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Humble Beginnings

This morning I was able to trap two kitties for neutering.  One from Short Street, the other from Vetter Street, who is part of a woman who lives on that street's 'clan.'  She reached out for help from me and I couldn't turn her down, despite my own desperateness to get all the cats I feed spayed and neutered (and rescued!).  I started to trap for the 'pregnant' cat I saw yesterday on Webster, and when I went to check on it, sure enough, what looked like the cat I saw was in the trap, but it also looked like its ear was already tipped.  So, I let it go.  It was either a very fat cat, or it was the just a looked a lot like it.  Laura was there for the pick up and transport, and again, I couldn't do it without her. 

Yesterday, after getting home from an exhausting day of work, and after many phone calls about the trapping to be done this morning, and Butters, I sat there and thought about something.

I have spent my life trying to be more than I was.  When I was little I pretended that I was a little rich girl.  When I got a little older, I pretended that I came from a sort of wealthy family, mainly because I had an uncle who owned a marina, and we 'summered' on Conesus Lake, and my grandfather was a chauffeur for movie stars and vice presidents who came into Rochester back in the 60s and drove a limo for them, sometimes dropping us kids off at Longpoint Park for the evening in it,  My father passed when I was around 11 and I eluded a false mystery about him that he was an antique gun dealer (which he was) and left a lot of money for me and my sister (which he didn't), but most of that was true in my head because I never really knew him.  He and my mother had separated when I was around two and my father became very sick for several years after that until his death.  My father, by the way, had horses, and a pet skunk!  A dog and cat were always there too on his farm in Spencerport, but I remember that skunk well.

I say all this because I was sitting there last evening, and thinking about all the people who have left me bags of food, or shelters, or donated money to me.  I thought what wonderful, selfless people to do that for a complete stranger, such as I am to them.  Most of these people have only ever read my blog, and never even met me.  I thought to myself, if they only knew how much it was appreciated that people go out of their way to remember me by giving of themselves like they do to help to encourage what I do each and every day.  I could never express how grateful I am to each person who has done this for me over the years.  I can hug, I can say thank you, but you will never really know the depth of my thanks.  I go week to week spending inexhorbitant amounts of money on cat food and wondering if all my bills will be paid, just to feed these homeless/feral cats.

So to each and every one of you that has contributed anything to me, thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you!

Quick Update!  Butters has been adopted, and has gone from Butters Wagner to Thurston Young!  Here he is with his new sister, Lovey! 


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage!



But not necessarily in that order. I saw this little one this morning for the first time, on Webster near Ferndale. She came up to me, not too close, but enough for me to extend my finger to her nose. I think she (?) is pregnant. Auite bulky around the middle. Here we go. I pray I am wrong, but would love to get it trapped. I have two slots available to me through Lollipop Farm tomorrow – and have promised to help out one woman for a friend of mine, where the woman in inundated with cats on her street. She is actually under investigation because of the condition of her house and property, but she does love cats, but can’t seem to help them on her own. So I offered to help her, she bought herself a trap, and my friend will show her how to use it. So there goes one spot, and Laura has the other. I will try for the pregnant girl next week. If I had another trap to use tomorrow morning, I would, but then again, I have only two spots available to me. I also noticed a black and white kitty yesterday that had discharge from one eye, and it looked like a cataract - or he was blind in that eye.  So sad!  But wish all of us luck tomorrow, we must get two!!


These next pictures are of Butters a/k/a "Thurston Howell III" in his new surroundings. That is what their potential adopters are now calling him. It was a rough start apparently for the first day and half, but its been better and they are falling in love. Hopefully a great happy ending. Thurston will join two feline brothers or sisters, and three canine brothers or sisters! My many thanks to Sue from Susie Q Dog Rescue in Livonia for hooking us up! Her website is here: http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/NY705.html





Here is a picture of Puddles – I named him that because of his passion for water and faucets… He is absolutely FASCINATED by this! Smokey is beside him. You can see how tiny this little baby boy is after having come up to me in the pouring rain early Sunday morning. There has got to be a female on that street that is producing these babies, as this is where Butters was rescued also. Below is a picture of the clan gathered this morning on Hayward, and I suspect one of them is the mother of Puddles. Must get TNR’g here too!



This picture is of the first spot I go to on Parsells in the morning. The kind man John allows me to enter his backyard every morning to feed the cats here. Thank you John! I must get this more secure also, because the wind, snow and cold will surely enter this little shelter.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Curly Tail Tuesday

Look at whats been hanging around Third Street~!  This little girl?  I hope you can see her tail!  Its totally curled.  She is a sweet little thing.  There is no ear tip, so I am not sure if its been spayed, or if she is a he and the doctor did a really good job at snipping!




There have been so many cats come and go in this business.  I have to believe that the ones I've never seen again are at peace.  And new ones are always showing up.  Just such a sad existence.  No wonder I can't name them all.  There are just too many!  But I love them for the time we have together, thats all I can do.  This little one has been hanging around for days now.  I wonder what his story is.  Wish they could talk!

The picture below is of the spot on Ferndale and Webster that my friend Kristin helped me build.  Most of the kitties there were TNR'd, but there are new ones hanging around, including two that are rather friendly.  Both are usually seen inside the little fortress that needs to be more reinforced for the weather we will be getting soon.  Its out in an open empty grass lot, exposed to the westerly winds and northerly (is that a word) fronts that come in from Lake Ontario.  
If you can see the board, it reads "Please don't steal" done last minute as we were placing it, in the pouring rain.  Spray paint.  It lasts!  And so has this little fort that I usually see two or three kitties coming out of when I pull up.  there is one plastic tote, and a feeding station, with a board over it, and a box crate under it.  Cozy for now.  And its been there for two weeks now!  Yay! 

This next picture is of a hut that Bob made for me on Short Street. I've added a plastic tote that Jessica's Dad made.  Its primitive, and again is in an open field.  This is where we just rescued the little black kitten that Miss B has taken in, who by the way is doing fine, still feral and hiding, but safe and well fed.  I need to figure this spot out more also.  With the wind and rain we've had, the board keeps blowing down on top of the food.  If anyone has any suggestions, it would be appreciated!
If you click on these pictures, you can see closer.  I've rescued Buddy, Prince Harry, little unnamed feral black boy, and a few others from this spot.  The cat in the background is a very sweet homeless cat.  Very pretty also.  The one in the forefront is the one that chases my car down the street.  Cries constant until I place food down because its so hungry.
These last pictures are of the kitten I rescued Sunday morning.  It has a fascination with water.  I haven't given him a name, but I think for now I will call him Puddles. 


Please remember, this kitten needs a home, and quick.  Either foster or adopt.  Please pass this on!  Have a great day!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust!

Yep, look who came walking up to me Saturday morning at 5:30 am. in the pouring rain, crying.  Yep, another kitten.  This one came from Hayward, as Butters did two months prior.  There is obviously a mommy cat somewhere around that I don't know about, but needs to be fixed.  This little sweetheart is a love.  I bathed her at 6:30 after I finished my route, towel dried her, and she's been a little purr  ball since. 


I know its crazy to most people, but as I told my mother and sister, who are always gasping lately because this is the fourth kitten I've rescued in two months, which is odd for me, what would you do?  Would you really walk away from a kitten, in the hood, starving, in the rain, at 5:30 am.???  Really?  No, they wouldn't.  And not many people in my circle would.  I let her out of the bathroom yesterday in the morning to get used to the others.  There was a lot of hissing going on, but thats OK.  They all know he is a baby and will tolerate.  As my friend Sue says, all my cats have been the new guys at one time or another.  I must find him a home, as my home is already too overcrowded now with five new cats (Vanessa, the mom to Pumpkin and Magic, Butters and new baby yet unnamed).

My baby Butters had interest expressed in him because his photo was on Petfinder, thanks go my friend Sue who runs Susie Q Dog Rescue (website coming soon).  I brought him over to a family nearby who was going to see how it went with their three dogs and two other kitties.  Butters had a vet appointment on Friday, pre-surgery - got his shots, checkup, etc.  He is a bit older than I thought he was, I am very bad about guessing ages.  They say he must be about 8 months.  But he still LOOKS little!  Anyway, I am not sure its working out.  Its been one day and he apparently is hissing at everyone.  Natural.  Yes.  But I am not sure its going to be tolerated by this family.  We will see, I will keep you updated.  He is totally in love with his brothers and sisters (my cats and dogs) and his adjustment lasted only a short while to them, but there is ALWAYS an adjustment period. 

I have many photos I took this morning of my shelters.  I can't thank enough Jess and her Dad for building me some totes, Bob for building me huts and totes, Kristin and Darrin for the huts, Jill for the boards (which are already stolen!), and a host of other people which I will mention when I can remember!  Here are the photos of some of my shelters as they stand today!
7th street


Central


ferndale


garson


Mr. Kitty


Friday, October 12, 2012

FABulous Friday!

As you might be able to tell, I have the day off from work today, and its great.  Or, it WILL be soon, I hope.  Its been a very frantic morning for sure.

Yesterday, I arrived home to a the little kitten I trapped on Short for TNR, huddled in the back of the carrier he was in, scared witless.   Thank you to Laura for transporting, which I depend on.  If anyone is able to help with transport on Thursdays, to and from Lollipop, please let me know.  In the meantime, I covered up the carrier so it was nice and warm and dark for him, got him food and water, and placed it in the front.  He didn't even try to escape.  Then I had my wine, and contemplated.  After speaking with Miss B. on the phone about a few minor issues she was having, I told her about the kitty and she begged me not to put it back on the street, that she would give the little guy a home.  We figure its about six months old, and I decided it was the best thing to do also.  So, the little bugger spent the night on my porch until morning, when I could be ready to bring Miss B. the works - food, litter box, litter, scoop and all the trimmings.  So we set him free - or opened up the carrier door of which he did not go past because he was scared to death.  He is a true feral kitten, and it will be interesting to see how and when he comes around.  If anyone can do it, its Miss B.  Stay tuned for updates and a name for him!  For now though, he is safe and warm which is where all these homeless animals ought to be.

Butters had his pre-surgery appointment this morning.  He is such a good boy, everyone fell in love with him at the vets!  They figured he was around six months, and I thought he was four months.  He's still my little baby!

Laura did not have success with trapping yesterday, and thats OK.  I figure even one cat a week makes a difference.  I just cannot rescue one a week, I must remember that!  :)

 I will be posting more pictures tomorrow or Sunday, finally got camera working.    Have a GREAT weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday Theatrics

My titles have been lame lately! 

This morning I had the opportunity to TNR with Laura.  We had two slots available to us at Lollipop.  Just found out yesterday, so scrambled this morning getting stuff ready.  NOTE TO SELF:  Always have canned tuna handy in the house, especially oil packed.  Its really smelly good stuff and perfect for trapping.  As you all know, I hate to trap, but it must be done to reduce the numbers of cats on the street, and we certainly don't want what happened last winter, where I wound up rescuing close to 12 very pregnant cats off the street.  The thought of trapping a cat and having to place it back into a dangerous environment with winter heading our way makes me sick, but not enough people are stepping up to the plate to offer an alternative environment for these poor creatures (i.e., a barn, a shed, a home).   So, I set up trap on Short Street, where I have a very poor set up with a nice wooden hut (I need to add more to this, the wind knocked down the very thin, small board I had placed up against the hut sheltering the food below it from the rain) and I managed to get a smaller black cat, less than six months old inside.  Of course, prior to the kitty going into the trap, I had to scoop up a very friendly, very beautiful cat thats there each morning that is already fixed, because he would go into the trap to get the tuna and he has no business being in there!  :)  I scooped him up and placed him in the carrier I had in the car to go with me on my rounds, and no sooner had I been ready to drive away so that the trapping could begin, I heard the SNAP of the trap door.  I met Laura later, and handed the kitten off to her, as she began to set up her trap on Central.  So, its a good thing, I guess. I hope she was successful, and of course my thanks to her as she is helping ME with MY kitties, and thats a completely selfless thing to do on her part.  How many others are willing to do this? 

I brought my camera along with me this morning so that I can share pictures of my shelters, and it still is not working, after I thought it was fixed.  Its a crappy Kodak that keeps telling me 'internal memory full'.  I am just not sure how to fix this!  Any suggestions?  Have a great day everyone!

"Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ferals

I had to be at the hospital at 7 am. this morning to help register folks for a breakfast event, so I had to go out to feed cats a little earlier than I normally do, if you can believe that.  So here I am at 4:55 a.m. leaving my house to drive to the hood to feed the 30-40+ kitties waiting for me, and waiting for me they were.  So were a few raccoons.  I am trying to drop off one plastic tote shelter each morning at a different location.  The weather we have now is one that humans like to cuddle under blankets for, which is the best part of my day, and for cats, they have none of these comforts.  I hope these shelters provide some comfort for them.  I hope they find the straw that I line the bottoms of them with are soft and pliable.  Again, it is nice to be able to look inside one in the morning and see an indentation in the straw that a cat was using it to lay (lie?) in. 

So far nothing has been taken.  I am so grateful for this.  I must remember my camera to show you a couple of spots that Kristen helped me to make little forts for the kitties.  If those could stay intact, I wouldn't have so much to worry about when the really bad winter weather arrives. 

I read an article that had statistics of the number of stray/feral cats in this country.  This article quoted 50 million.  When you think about that, its overwhelming.  What am I doing to make a difference?  How am I helping to reduce this really mind-boggling number?

Here is an interesting article I recently read about sheltering and socializing feral cats.

Feral cats are domestic cats, and just like friendly cats, they benefit from having an indoor home or sanctuary.


People who adopt friendly cats normally intend to give themselves a companion or a sweet dependent pet. Typically in this situation, when adopting an additional friendly cat down the road, special precautions need to be taken for a smooth transition, since there may be territorial or jealousy issues from the original house cat.

Providing sanctuary for feral cats is altruistic: the goal is to get the cats off the streets and into an indoor, protected environment. Normally at minimum, a small handful of cats are rescued at a time. Typically feral cats are not loners, but rather are part of a group, or colony of cats. These cats will socialize on their own schedule and will then act similarly to cats that are adopted as friendly cats, except generally there will not be jealousy or territorial issues with the feral cats. Even after they become social, they find great comfort in the company of cats, including new cats that join the group.

Feral cats will not appeal to the person who wants an instantly companionable pet, but rather to the person who has the desire and the means to provide sanctuary. Rescuers of feral cats will generally light up with stories of how funny their feral cats are and how they have become loving companions in time. Also, feral cats that have a home will generally stay clear of the outside door when it’s opened, as they clearly want to remain indoors. Friendly cats, on the other hand, are more likely to show curiosity or a desire to go outside. Feral cats know better.

Feral cats are not wild animals. Rather, they are domestic animals that have taken on wild behaviors, apparently as an instinctive defense mechanism to aid in their survival. In contrast to wild animals such as squirrels, raccoons, and skunks, they are ill-equipped to survive on their own. Feral cats do not thrive in the woods where there is no human existence. Stray and feral cats form colonies around human food sources, such as open trash cans or dumpsters. Truly wild animals will den-up or hibernate during harsh winter weather, while feral cats typically search for relief in precarious places. Feral cats prefer a comfortable, safe indoor life to a lifelong experience of homeless perils.

Another untruth is that after 6 weeks, a feral cat can no longer be socialized.  While kittens six weeks and younger will typically socialize rather quickly and easily, there are three primary factors that influence how quickly an adult feral cat will become social:

The individual nature of each cat. Some feral cats come around faster than others, even when they are from the same family and same litter of kittens. Each cat has a unique and individual personality, just like humans.

How many generations the feral cat is away from a social mother cat. Kittens born in the wild from a tame cat will be semi-feral, while kittens born in the wild from a semi-feral cat will be feral. As each generation progresses, the more feral the kittens will be and the more difficult it will be to socialize
them. However, there are countless exceptions to this rule, and this factor seems to be less relevant than other factors.

• The cat’s past and current associations with people. After a friendly, trusting cat has been abandoned or lost in the streets, particularly if he encounters a tough life, his behavior will often gradually become feral as an instinctive defense or survival mechanism. Generally these cats will come around rather quickly with some kindness and effort, and these cats make good adoption candidates into new homes.  Cats that were born in the wild and were given kind attention from their caregivers will generally socialize more easily than feral cats that either had no caregiver or were treated indifferently by their caregiver.

Other facts:

No Meows. Feral cats will generally not meow in front of you until they feel comfortable in your presence.


No eating in front of you. Cats, especially feral cats, typically need to feel comfortable in their surroundings before they will eat. A feral cat may go for several days eating barely a thing after it is brought into your home, and even then it may only eat after you have gone to the office or gone to bed. When a feral cat will eat in front of you, it is usually a sign of trust.

Hiding. A feral cat may hide after you put it in a taming cage (cat playpen) or after you first release it from the playpen. This is symptomatic of its lifestyle in the wild. In the outdoors, feral cats typically hide unless it is feeding time or near feeding time. A feral cat will slowly break that habit after it feels safe in your home. For example, in the beginning stages, if you are out of the room, the cat may bravely enjoy the comfort of your sofa and then run to hide as you enter the room.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday

I got a comp day, as did the others in my office, for such a successful gala, and working so hard throughout it.  Some got yesterday off, others today, and I took today.  Its been wonderful.  I actually went back to bed until 9:30!!  It was a DREAM!!  :)

But prior to that, I was out in the trenches, and it was ccccccold.....  I am bringing one plastic tote each day to place somewhere, and this morning I placed one on Parsells.  I figure it will keep one kitty warmer tonight, if they are smart enough to use it.  Yesterday I did notice that on Ferndale and Webster, where Kristin and I made a little fort on rainy Saturday morning, there was an indentation in the straw inside one of them, and that was very rewarding.

I chased more FAT raccoons this morning.  They drive me crazy, because they eat all the cats food portions for the day, and the cats go hungry.  Even after doing this for so many years, I can't remember if raccoons go into hibernation.  I must look that up.  Would be nice.

So this is a quick post today, I have so many things I would like to accomplish, and out of those so many things, I hope to get at least one or two done, like mums for the house, and a pumpkin for Wally.  So have a great day everyone!

PS, I am trying to fix my crappy camera so I can get pictures of my shelters I have built thus far. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Updates from the Weekend

If my friend Kristin hadn't driven from Churchville (about 20 miles) all the way to my house on Saturday morning at 5 am. in the pouring rain, the morning would have been a wash out.  (yuk yuk).    Kristin's intention was to bring some wooden shelters to me and help me place them.  It was a very nasty morning weather wise.  Cold and damp and pouring rain, and it didn't let up.  I had a plastic grocery bag tied over my head to protect my just done the night before $30 ironed straight hair for that evening's gala.    I looked like a sight, but who's looking anyways on a rainy Saturday morningat 5 am.  Not even the kitties were out waiting for me.  None of the shelters were disturbed over night, except the one on Garson where I am having a tough time convincing the owner of this house to allow me to continue to feed on the porch because it's roof is Big Red, Talkie, Lucille and the injured neck kitty's only protection of their food from the harsh weather.

So it was nice to have a partner in crime with me that morning.  She provided a different perspective on how to place a few boards, to help me throw tarp over a few, and to set up the huts.  I still have a long way to go - I need boards and I need tarps.  I am glad I have the extra shelters that I've been provided lately, thank you Bob, thank you Jessica, thank you Maree - because who knows how long the others I've placed will last.  I am just sorry that Kristin didn't get to see the kitties that sit there waiting for me at all of my locations.  They do not like the pouring rain.  Most of them waited it out elsewhere, which is another proof that my shelters need some work.  My only fear keeping me from building a Taj Mahal for each of my spots is someone taking and trashing the stuff I leave.  Why can't everyone have compassion in their hearts for these helpless creatures.  Why.

A great update:  I last told you about a friend in NYC who happened upon a new litter of six kittens.  He was able to get five of the six kittens that were inside a fenced in cell tower.  They were brought to the shelter Thursday night where they were greeted by a woman who was immediately calling rescue groups around the city, much like Another Chance Pet Rescue here in Rochester, that could possibly care for the newborns until they were ready for adoption.  At my instruction to him, he went back the next morning for the sixth kitten who's eyes were closed shut, and was able to grab her.  Within hours, she was adopted by a co-worker, and brought to the vet that night for a checkup.  Here is Beyonce, in all her little glory, in a desk drawer awaiting her ride home that day.  GREAT NEWS.  Thanks Kevin.  You are an angel of mercy. 

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Friday, October 5, 2012

TGIF

For sure, although I will working 14 hours tomorrow at our hospital gala preparing from morning until evening when the first guest arrives, and then its registration time until the last guest arrives.  My feet ache, I don't get enough sleep, and my poor kitties will miss me terribly.  They love me so.  They can't get enough attention from me.  I even gave them playtime this morning, they loved it.

Laura released two males this morning that she trapped and brought to Lollipop for neutering.  I am so grateful to her for going the extra mile and helping me to help this section of town.  I am sure she would like to be done with it and move on, as we all know there are many neighorhoods that need someone like her, but for now, I will accept her help most graciously.  My problem is time and transportation.  I can't get up any earlier than I already do, and feed and re-shelter as many spots as I do, and still make it back home to get ready for a full day at work.

Speaking of re-sheltering, the board I had moved with Maree a couple of weeks ago - from the dilapitated garage of the remodeled house on corner of Ferndale and Webster - was gone this morning.  That was a perfect, and heavy board that was sheltering the cats that had to move to this lot due to the house being demolished a couple weeks ago at the lot next door.  It was very upsetting to me.  I wound up going into the dilapitated garage and scrounging up some large cardboard pieces and dragging those over to the fence as lean-to's until I can figure out what to do next about this situation.  And just prior to that, over on Garson, the owner of the gutted house must have been there, or a worker of his, and moved the carrier off the porch along with the blanket and dishes that I've been using to feed Big Red, Lucille, Talkie and the neck wound kitty.  It was placed on the ground off the porch.  At least it wasn't all trashed.  I moved everything back up and wrote a note pleading for leniency.  I left my number, and I am hoping he will allow me to continue.  As a backup, looking down the street from there, I could see a house that is boarded up in front but a tenant in the back.  I left a note on their car windshield asking if I could feed cats on their porch and left my business card with it.  I pray someone has some compassion here.  It makes me so sad.

For a little better news...  I got a call from an ex co-worker who got a job in Philadelphia during a staff meeting late yesterday.  He happened to be in New York City and going past a cell tower enclosure downtown, with a metal gate around it, etc. and saw two newborn kittens and immediately called me for advice.  As we were talking, he said "theres another one, oh, there's another one, oh' theres another one," and on and on, of course this broke my heart as he was asking me what to do.  I told him to go get a box and put the kittens in there.  He didn't see any sign of the mother.  Then he told me a fifth kitten came out to him but that there was another one in the rusted box inside that didn't have its eyes open.  He couldnt' get it.  He had called the police, fire department, and North Shore Animal League which was closed, but police and fire wouldn't help him.  I then told him to get these cats to the shelter in Manhattan before they closed at 7 pm. and to go back there in the morning to see if he could get the sixth kitten.  Well, he did, and he got it.    He called me earlier this morning to report this and I gave him advice on feeding this kitten until Kevin's meeting ended at noon.  He was housing this lone kitten in a box and I advised him to get Pedialyte and a dropper from Duane Reed drug store as pet stores were closed and to feed it a little until he could get the baby to the shelter at noon today.  I am so proud to know this man, and to be able to be there for him when he needed advice.  He may have saved six lives!  Here is the picture of the first five he rescued.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!