Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Rain in Spain

Thank you Lord for keeping the rain from pouring down on me until I finished up my very last stop this morning.  I sometimes wonder if the rain is God's tears, for all the sadness in the world.  There is so much.  But he always promises sunshine and rainbows.  Then again, rain is good!  It feeds the earth.  I thank God for all these things we have to endure.  It keeps us strong.

No problem on Parsells this morning.  No sighting of the kittens either.  The person who commented on Lonsberry, thanks for your anger and efforts - to reiterate, he's ignorant to this problem, nor does he care.  Forget about him.  And the person who commented on the barn situation, you are spot on with my experiences.  Thank you for sharing the downside to relocating cats.  Its doesn't always work out every time.  They need homes.

I have to share this heartwarming story with you.  This couple from Texas, who found me from the D & C article (they are from NY), wrote to me to commend me for what I was doing, and after a brief exchange, she shared this story with me.  It just goes to show you what great lengths people will do for these sweet precious animals.  Here goes:

I’m Sue, Tom’s wife...we both read the article on your feeding the feral cats and getting them their shots and would just like to thank you for what you do.  Tom and I are both lifelong animal lovers. I’ve volunteered for many years at animal shelters (we live in Austin, TX...moved there 13 years ago after we retired, but return to Port Bay, NY every summer...our families are all here and we beat the heat!).  Tom and I have “raised” two feral litters...the first litter was born under our deck when we lived in Webster, NY. Prior to their birth, on Xmas night, Tom was taking a load of trash out after our Xmas party and a cat jumped out of one of the garbage bags and scared the heck out of him! So, I immediately put a plate of turkey out for it. Tom kept saying “you should stop feeding that cat because my biggest fear is that we’re going to wake up some morning to five kittens coming out from under our deck.”  I said “oh, we don’t even know if it’s a male or a female” and I kept feeding “it.”  She (as it turned out) was the wildest feral I’ve ever seen...even snow blowing off a tree limb would send her flying.  Well, my husband’s fears came May, out she came from under our deck followed by exactly FIVE calico, two tigers, one Bengal tiger, one tortishell.  The kittens looked large...around 8 weeks before we even knew they existed.  So my husband was very upset with me.

I immediately contacted a rescue group and they brought over a HUGE pet-store type cage for me to borrow.  I had to trap all the kittens and get them spayed and neutered, but I needed a large holding area until they were old enough for the surgeries.  I had called my vet and he was amazing....he told me he would spay and neuter them for $15 and $25  each.  So, I trapped them (along with mama...had her spayed...she took off and I never saw her again). The kittens were ferocious...tried to bite, would hiss, climbed to the furthest point in the cage to stay away from me.  I’d take turns wrapping them in large bath towels so I could hold them on my lap and try to socialize them...they wanted none of that...just hated me.  Finally, they were old enough to get their surgeries.  The vet told me that as long as I let them live under my deck and fed them, they would lead a good life.  So I agreed.  When I got them home, I had to cage them for a couple of days until they were entirely recuperated from the surgery.  Then it was time to release them. So I said “OK you miserable little critters...go off and have a great life!” I opened the cage door and instead of flying out, they sauntered out and sat there looking at me!  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  One of them started rubbing me around my legs.  So I tried the “one finger” pet and they liked it! So, the love affair began.  I moved them from under the deck in the cold weather, had a cat door installed in my attached shed, taught them how to use it, then from there, opened that up into the garage. Had huge quilts piled two feet high on the floor and would sit in the shed with them for a visit every day during the tough winter months.   When they were five, we moved to Texas...what to do with the cats? Because they were still feral...only let my husband and me pet them...nobody else...we had to take them with us! So, what a fun trip across country in a moving van, a car, two Gordon Setter dogs and a crate of feral cats! 

To finish the story, on the FIRST DAY moving into our new house in Austin, I look outside and there is a black feral cat marching through our yard followed by FOUR black kittens.  Another feral litter! So, I repeated the process.  I kept my NY cats in crates and moved them around the property for the first week and that worked great...they settled into their new (warmer) home immediately and without incident.  AND they totally accepted the new feral litter!  The NY cats have all passed on, now, and I only have two of the TX litter left (13 yrs old) and my neighbor feeds them for me while we’re in NY during the summer.

So anyhow, that’s our background.  By the way, my husband LOVES our feral cats and realized it wasn’t such a disaster waiting to happen that he thought it would be.  We’ve rescued many cats over the years...and if the rescues were strays and sociable, we rehomed them into inside homes.  But that’s why my husband contacted you..said he would like to send you a donation toward the food you buy for the ferals you feed.  Sue.

I wrote her back and asked her if she wouldn't mind me sharing this story, here was her response:

 Later, Sue wrote:

..this is only a miniscule piece of the entire story as you can of NY kittens disappeared at 8 wks and didn’t get trapped...I never knew what happened to him...he was the Bengal tiger...we had  large woods behind our house and I figured he wandered off and something happened to him.  Six months later, out of the woods he came...all pumped up full of testosterone and glorious..I named him Drew because it looked like someone drew all over him (pictured below head rubbing his brother Itchy after we moved them to Texas). Well, I couldn’t believe my eyes...and I figured I’d never be able to trap him and get him to the vet...a big, unaltered feral like that.  So, I just started talking to him...he came around to eat of course.  It didn’t take long for him to re-join his brothers and sisters and I did get him neutered. When it was time to leave for Texas, he had disappeared we had to leave him behind and asked the people who bought our house to keep putting food out and let us know if they saw him.  They when I had to fly back to NY for something six months later....I forget what...I called my old neighbors to see if Drew was still hanging around...he was (and they didn’t want to keep feeding him).  So my other neighbor called me one day to say “he’s in my yard” I drove over to his had been months since Drew had seen me last.  I sat down in the yard and started talking to him.  He sat down...but kept his distance and started to meow.  I’d talk, he’d talk back.  This went on for a  good 20 to 30 minutes...he finally started to slowly approach me...when he got up to me, he crawled in my lap, put his paws around my neck and I hugged the heck out of him...I turned around and my neighbor was watching out his window and was giving me the thumbs up with a big smile on his face.  So, guess what?  We had to FLY Drew back to Texas...what a nightmare trip that was.  The funny thing is that Drew and Itchy were the two most affectionate as they got older. Drew got so tame that I could carry him in the vet’s office and he would let the vet technicians hold him....a 360 degree turnaround from his younger years.  He was the last to die.  He became best friends with one of the little girls from the Texas litter...always slept together in the same bed. (several candid pics below)

What a neat lady.  I am so lucky to have the exposure I've been getting to meet so many wonderful people.  

Thanks Kristin for adding up my numbers for this year so far.

Your numbers so far this year:

28 rescues.  27 TNRs - woop woop.  I am a bit down compared to last year, but thats not too shabby for one girl.

"Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man.  Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures."

~The Dalai Lama


  1. Sue & Tom, Thanks for sharing your story! A HUGE thank you for caring for those kitties. So many simply turn a blind eye. Heaven has a special place for you both, with your furry friends!

  2. What a wonderful couple and story to boot. There are so many of us out here that have such compassion for these animal, and all animals I am sure of that. We should have a convention someday for all the loving / caring people in this world. I'm sure it would be a wonderful time being surrounded by such compassionate people.

  3. Wow, what a story! So glad you shared that and the pictures too. That must have been some car ride all the way to Texas! Ha! Sue and Tom are very special people.