Thursday, February 04, 2016

Cat Wrangling at its Best

Last night, I went after the big boy once again!  It wasn't raining for a change.

45 minutes into it, a Lebanon woman drove into the location with her unfixed female I'd arranged to have fixed today.   She had had 3 cats show up in her barn.  All three were girls and Barney was the last needing fixed.  She was fixed today and is already back home.

Barney, fixed today. 
I'd set things up a bit differently out there to catch the male this time.  I clothes pinned a white plastic bag to the back of the drop trap, so I could better see who was under it.  There is no light out there.

I also propped up a small flashlight on a crate about 20 feet from the drop trap, to give me a view of who might be under it.  Many of the other cats came and went, eating under it, although they were nervous about it, having been caught that way before.

Just after the Lebanon woman left, I heard noises on the stacks of pallets against one building.   I knew it was going to be him, probably had been sleeping up top of the stack.  He never hesitated one moment when he saw the food under the trap.  He went straight under it, his back to me, and I yanked the cord.

Immediately, he bounced around so violently in that drop trap, he moved it four feet.  It was going up and down too and I thought I might lose him.  I ran over and covered it and held it down at the same time.  I'd caught my thumb on wire at some point and it was bleeding.

Helicopters were going over, time after time, in the dark.  I wondered what was up with that and I hoped they were not looking down with a zoom camera because they would wonder what in the world I was doing.

It's not that easy alone in the dark to manage a drop trap transfer, but I got it done.  I was jumping up and down in circles, there out in the pitch black darkness, alone, arms up in victory!

The moment he went into a live trap from the transfer door of the drop trap, he behaved like a mouse. I wondered, 'Is this cat tame, or a lost boy perhaps?"

I call boys who roam off looking for love and never make it home again "lost boys" and there are plenty of them out there, on their own for x number of months or years, before they somehow end up somewhere that allows them time with love to "remember" that they're tame and all the good things that come with house cat living.

Cats who free roam unfixed and are tame, are a dilemma for those trying to solve overpopulation.  Are they owned, or lost or have they been dumped or left behind?   It should not be the burden of those trying to stop overpopulation to figure this out.  All free roaming cats should have ID, either a collar or chip.  Period.  And no cat should free roam unfixed.  Too many cats already and too many diseases being spread fighting and breeding.

So I asked Heartland when I took the cats over if they'd consider keeping him, if he seemed tame enough to them.  Tonight they said they would, but if he turns out not to be tame enough, they'll call me and I'll go fetch him. That way, if he stays there, he can be on his legal stray hold time, in case someone is missing him.  I doubt they are, because he's been hanging at the colony for some time, but you never know.

The colony cats don't have to put up with him terrorizing them and beating them up and I don't have to feed another cat out there.  So it's all good!

So, after his stray hold is up, and if he's tame enough to stay there, go see one awesome cat!!! He's a dark charcoal smoke and that makes for a gorgeous color combo.  He gets the "smoke" add on color label because he's got the white undercoat.  It's quite dramatic looking. He's also massive and I know there are people who love the fabulous huge boys!

Char, protesting something

It was a wild night, but I love that sort of catch and it was a good catch, because this boy was beating up the other cats.  They were scared of him, for good reason.  His size and attitude, being unfixed in a colony of fixed cats, not a good mix.

I forgot to tell about the kittens.  I had seen them on craigslist, a pair of whites, boy and girl, brother and sister, being given away, owners moving.  So I asked my rescue friend with Animal Rescue and Care Fund, if thye could take them. She said Yes!  Emphatically.

I called the people up and they were very willing to turn them over.  I picked them up after dropping off Char and Barney.  And off to meet ARCF in Wilsonville with those two lovely young kitties.  They'll get a great home but first, they went straight to the vet.  Their new names are Andrew and Alexia.

Alexia up front with her brother, Andrew behind.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Autumn Needs Some Help, and, Another Big Bad Boy

Autumn, who lives in northern California, needs some help.  She has breast cancer, and was disabled to begin with.  She supplements her income working as a caregiver, but now can't do that, as she recovers from a mastectomy.  She feeds a lot of outside cats, besides having her own.  She got those cats all fixed herself, most originating from her own landlady.

She adopted two Albany girls, abandoned cruelly at a complex on Oak street.  Both are muted calicos.  I had gotten them fixed for the people who owned them when I had Poppa funds still and reluctantly returned them, because the people who owned them had no character at all.  The look one of those cats gave me, when I turned her loose back at her "home", filled me with grief.  She didn't want to go back.

Sure enough, a few months later, I received word from a tenant there they'd been left behind.  I was so angry I could have spit nails.  But also relieved.  Because I could now go get them out of that terrible life.  I did.   And Autumn drove all the way up from northern California to meet me in Bandon, to adopt them.

She wanted them to stay together.  And they are together still.

Mary Margaret and Butterscotch
Autumn was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and just had a mastectomy.  She could use help feeding the cats for awhile.    She's started a GofundMe to help.

Here's the link to Autumn's Gofundme page.

If you can help, even a tiny amount, THANK YOU.   I think it is important to help one another as we struggle.  It can be a big mental boost too, to know you're not alone, when you face something like cancer.

In other news, I was out at the farm colony last night, to feed, and didn't see a single cat.  I was disturbed, of course, and shone my light around.  Eyes glared back at me from a woodpile.  But they were not familiar eyes.  I knew immediately  what was going on.

A week ago, when I was out there, as I drove in, I'd heard growling and tiffing in a woodpile.  As I got out of the car, cats exited the area, staring back at me, eyes shining in the beam of my flashlight.  But I caught the eyes of someone I did not readily know.  My mind clicked back through the list of cats I knew of out there.  Nothing came up.   A newcomer.  But was he?

When I first started trapping that colony, the very first cat I saw was a big short hair black.  It was dark and that was the only time I saw him.  I mentioned it to the workers, but they said I'd caught them all and I must have seen the long hair black adult, and was mistaken on his hair length.

I should have trusted myself.  Last night, I saw him in full view.   I'd had this feeling when out there the last weeks, a presence unknown, that had been bothering me.  I'd been checking for ear tips in the dark.

The other cats finally emerged but were hyper alert.  And then out he marched, a HUGE male, and the cats vanished.  He was already growling at them, swatting, swaggering.  That poor little teen girl kitten who hurled herself at me, out of the dark, would have been his first "take" and that's probably how she sustained bite wounds and he is probably the reason little Benji was limping a couple weeks back.

Somebody needs neutered.  Badly.

And somebody is going to get neutered, too.

Guess who.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Surreal Slinko Sundays

Some time ago, I began a facebook page for Slinko, the big male I trapped in a feral colony that had to be removed.  I thought Slinko was a wild boy, until a year later, that is.  I call the page A Home for Slinko.

It was freezing out.  Until that time, Slinko spent his days in the cat yard and garage cat room.  But that day, he came in, and was milling next to super friendly Sam, whom Slinko adores.  When I approached, he turned his back to me and arched it.

This is a universal sign a cat gives---pet me!  So I petted him.

After that, he was all over me.  He's awkward with the other cats.  He wants to play and tumble but they mistake his overtures for aggression.  And he can be a bad boy.

Heartland was not impressed however, when I took him there, to have his second dental a year ago.  He'd began yawning then wincing in pain when he'd close his mouth.   These are mouth and tooth pain signs.   He went to one vet but she pulled only one tooth and his pain continued.  So Heartland helped me out with a second effort in which four more bad teeth were pulled.   I had bragged about how tame he had become, but he acted worse than any big feral male would act there.  

I'd been trying to find Slinko a house boy home.  After that, I realized it will not be.   So I turned Slinko's facebook page, into a weekly art photo of him that I post on Sunday.  I call the works Surreal Slinko Sunday, or SSS for short.  Here are some of my SSS creations.

Today's SSS post I entitled "On Fire"

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Neutered and Still Stinky

Ninja, the big male trapped last Monday morning, who has been residing in a garage cage since then, was neutered today.  Cost to the Happy Cat Club--$40.  He got the Feral package at Heartland.

Lordy, does he ever have the strongest smelling male urine ever.  It makes my eyes water.

I've been trying to mitigate the effects of that smell, on my cats' behavior, by sprinkling lavender oil all over the garage.  But even lavender oil doesn't cover it.

My cats go a little bananas at the smell of unfixed male.  But this isn't just any unfixed male smell.  This is the mammoth bone of unfixed male stink.

I had to work in "mammoth" because mammoth bones just got dug up over in Corvallis, at Reser stadium, or whatever they call it now, the football arena.   Used to be Parker Stadium.  I can't keep up with the name changes.  Name changes I think come with money attached.  I'm guessing anyhow.

Construction workers were enlarging the stadium when they dug those up along with other animal bones from way back when.    I want to see them. I suppose because of my highly active imagination that can immediately immerse me into scenarios.  I have to have the imagination on overdrive because my life is otherwise extremely boring.

The mammoth bone discovery was brilliant, a different kind of story, upbeat and interesting, than the one involving the wildlife refuge takeover criminals, now all gone but four.  Heavy snow or freezing rain, should it come, should do the trick in getting them gone.

We don't like people destroying our public places here.  Malheur is a treasure and to see these folks defecate on it basically has been painful.

Public places are the only places we have, you see, where we can be free anymore.   When everywhere is private property, gosh darn, what restricted tiny lives we'd then live.  Hurrah for public lands!

So yes, Ninja, the wild boy, is back.  Freshly neutered.  Eating already, sleeping off the anesthesia, which sounds pretty good to me right now, anesthesia that is.

He's supposed to go home tomorrow.  About time.  I usually never hold a wild male this long for anyone, just to be fixed.   The smell causes such disruptions.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Time Passes

How fast time goes by.

How is it that I'm an old woman now?

Most of my life was wasted away in the grip of the mental health system.  It was a useless and meaningless existence.

My body wasted away then too under the effects of those terrible drugs, often forced upon me, by the caseworkers.  The drugs ballooned my weight, increased my blood pressure, and further lowered my self esteem and ability to think.

I wonder why they still drug people to the hilt and stick them in little tiny holes to live, alone and without work or meaning.  That is not physically or mentally healthy.  I thought by now the system would see the light, and understand what makes others healthy and happy, stands true also for those labeled mental.

But no.

I had to find my own way out, and I did, somewhat, not completely, with a little help from a beating on a psyche ward, that did more than pound my head physically, it pounded some sense into me.  I saw the light, that I would be dead soon if I didn't escape.  That's why I say my real life began in 2001.  I've now had 15 years of real life, for which I am grateful.  Many of those first years were spent recovering from surgeries to repair spinal damages.  I suffer many maladies, some leftovers from the beating and damage done, that went too long, and other painful conditions that make life sometimes "challenging".

I escaped with the help of the river cats.  Vision, one of my original family, is still with me, at 22 years of age.  The river cats showed me love and I got a purpose when I started getting them fixed, one by one, when I didn't even have a car.

It seems like yesterday that all happened.  But it wasn't yesterday, or even the day before.   Days and years seem stacked like cards, and not a high stack either.  I can flip back to relive something like it was indeed yesterday.  I wish years gone by, seemed like ancient history, something cloudy and distant and blurred.  Might make age easier.  Time is just a counting measure.  Wear and tear breaks down our bodies and kills us. If accidents don't first.

My body is worn out, to be sure, from the abuses of a hard life.  Lately, with my shoulder blade twitching and clamping across my back like a vise, creating a pain that is frightening in intensity, I become introspective.

In the system, my friends died like flies.  Some died due to drug interactions and many to suicide.

Lately, I lose friends to older age issues--heart failure, cancer, stroke, car crashes.  Friends have adult children with severe drug issues, and I don't know what to say when they talk about them.   I know that must be difficult.  I have a friend with early onset Alzheimer's, a disease that steals so many and seems many are stricken at earlier and earlier ages.

We lost Bill Johnson last week.  I remember his daring and brash run to the finish in the men's downhill way back when he was young and I was also.   I loved watching him ski.  I knew from his cocky arrogance he'd be a hard person to live with, but man alive, he messed with the heads of competitors and had absolutely no fear.

Everyone cheered his comeback at age 40.  If anyone could do it, it was Bill Johnson.  When he crashed and sustained that head injury, it was like poking a reality hole in the dream balloons of middle agers.  Bill Johnson died an extended difficult death last week, suffering severely, unable to swallow in the last two weeks.  He still wanted to win the race, beat the odds.  He did not go quietly.

Here's to you, Bill Johnson.

The wildlife refuge standoff continues, although many of the leaders have been arrested.  One died in the traffic stop that was conducted last night in eastern Oregon as militant leaders traveled north from the refuge and on north of Burns, headed to John Day, hoping to find a more sympathetic audience there, at a meeting.  That man who died when allegedly two of the militants resisted arrest, was younger than I, but not by many years, and had vowed he would not live the rest of his life in a concrete cave, (prison cell).  Can't blame him there.  He said, while still at the refuge, if the FBI came, he would not be taken alive.  He got his wish.

 I wish those still at the refuge would just go home, give it up.  Most of them are from out of state.  No more bloodshed.   They could not have believed, if they were sane, that their takeover of a wildlife refuge, intimidation of locals, and employees, would result in anything good for them.

That's all for today.  Even "winged" as I am, litter boxes still must be cleaned.  I better get to it.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Boys! Boys! Boys!

It's that time of year.  Females are going into heat.  And the boys just want to fight and well, you know.....

The urge to reproduce, continue the species.   Only there are already far too many felines.   And the boys, when they fight, get and spread terrible diseases, like Feline Aids.

I came home the other day and there are two unfixed males facing off in my driveway.  It was embarrassing.  One was this guy, who is on the apartment complex hit list because he spray marks there....

He was facing off and going at it with a short hair black male I'd never seen before.

Gosh darn.

I loaned a trap to some folks feeding another big tabby male, not far from where we just caught Nothobbs to be fixed.  I thought maybe it would be Nothobbs, because you know how cats are.  They can claim several homes as theirs and we people get huffed up to find out our cat, even our stray, has many other people.

They caught the big boy this morning and it is not Nothobbs.  He's darn beautiful and will be fixed on Thursday.
I don't think he has a name. Maybe we should call him NOTnothobbs.

Maybe I'll luck out and catch one of the two latest big boys haunting my yard and spraying down my fence, making Sam crazy again.

Fix your boys, people!  Please!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Dog Day on the Coast

I took another trip to the coast.

This time, I not only took along a cat, but a dog, as well.

That dog was an elderly dachshund named Lilleth.  I believe she was brought up from a kill shelter in Texas.  I transported her for a rescue although they had already adopted her out to a very kind impressive young couple.  Lilleth had many many very bad teeth that needed out.  I met the couple at 5:15 in the morning, no less, up in Wilsonville, in a parking lot, to pick up Lilleth, as Starry and I, and now Lilleth, made our way north and west to the affordable clinic.

Wasn't easy on me.  I had hurt my back and shoulder muscles again, this time lifting the 40 pound bags of pellet fuel I use for cat litter.  They are so awkward and difficult.  I knew by Friday night that Saturday was going to be a trial.

Sometimes you just suck it up and go step by step through the day.

That's what I did and I got through it.

There was a long line as usual at the clinic, for surgery check ins.  I met a couple worried over their precious loved pitbull who had pulled an ACL when running.  This was the sweetest dog.  He was there to get surgery to repair that.

The man helped me bring in Starry and Lilleth, as I was unable by then, due to the severity of my pain.

After check in, I drove to a park in Hammond, which is out beyond Warrenton, not far from Astoria, just across Young's Bay a bit and west.   I like to sit in the park, facing the Columbia River and watch the ships go by.  Some are coming in bearing cargo and others leaving.   The Hammond bar with small boat basin back within it, is very close too, so small boats speed by heading towards the mouth of the Columbia River and beyond, I suppose, with crab pots and fishing gear.  Small commercial fisher boats and crab boats also went by.

Again I encountered an elk wandering right in Hammond.

Bar leading into the Hammond boat basin on the Columbia River.

Rain poured down.  Gulls sat on railings miserably in the downpour.  I stayed in my car.  I read a book, napped, and tried to call people, largely out of boredom.

Finally I decided to drive to the beach, about five minutes away from where I'd sat out the worst of the rain, for a few hours.

The Peter Iredale wreck is falling apart with less and less of it left to view.  The surf was wild and so high I could barely believe it.  There was very little beach and what there was, was littered in drift wood thrown ashore by massive wild waves.  Even walking north, bundled up, because it was cold, from that beach, I had to keep one eye on the ocean as suddenly a large wave would come through and I'd be higher up the bank, safe, because I'd seen it coming.  At one point, a helicopter flew over head out to sea. The Coast Guard.  Was there a small boat in trouble, I wondered, with such high seas.  Or were they training.

I drove down then to the south jetty beach.  I used to walk out the trail from the parking lot to the beach just north of the south jetty.  But that beach was gone, and taken over by surf.  Massive waves broke over the jetty and tumbled down into the north side.

The south jetty extends out. Normally there would not be that lake of water on the right and you could walk out to a beach beyond the dune grass on the right.  That beach is gone now.

Waves crash over the south jetty
I tried to go pick up Starry and Lilleth at 3:00 p.m. but was told they were running late and to come back at 5:00.  I waited in my car, reading a book again, and dozing off.  If I moved slightly the wrong way, terrible pain would grab my back muscle and I'd want to scream.

I met the young couple in Beaverton on the way back to give back Lilleth and very eagerly headed home from there.  At times the rain was so intense, I had to reduce my driving speed to a crawl.  Nonetheless it was after 9:00 p.m. when I finally rolled in my driveway, roughly 17 hours after my trek began.

On the way home, I talked nonstop to Starry, mostly babbling.  "I was the right person for the job," I told her.  "I made it through."  

I knew I could make it through, despite the pain, and the rain.  I got out of town at least, out from behind this computer.

Starry needed no teeth pulled.  I felt cheated.  Just kidding.  No.  I was glad she has a healthy mouth.  She's almost 7 years old now.  She did get her teeth cleaned, updated on her rabies, and got a droncit injection, for tapeworms, and hopefully that will help stop those smelly farts of hers.
Starry, with Shaulin on the right.

Today I'm going to rest up.