Friday, October 20, 2017

Nine More!

Nine more cats were fixed yesterday in Salem.

Two are from Brownsville and a situation a friend is trying to "fix".  She already took five from there up Monday to be fixed, now these two tame darling teen boys are fixed.

Despero, a little brown tabby Brownsville boy, fixed yesterday.

Stevie was fixed also, from same place and was a clinic staff favorite!
Next up, Jakarta, the unknown adult I caught at the rural barn, where Gypsy lives with her remaining kittens.  Jakarta too is a girl and judged to be about 10 months of age.

Jakarta is a wild thing and needs a new place to call home.

Also a colony behind the Speedway was brought to my attention.   I took up the drop trap to them, to prefeed under a few days, then arrived there at promptly 7:00 a.m. to wait for cats to go under it.  They had a cup of coffee ready, but it didn't take but a few minutes for mom and three of her five teens to wander under to eat.  I yanked the cord, dropping the trap over them.  We ran forward and covered the drop trap.  Then I went and got the transfer traps out of my car and we transferred them out of the drop trap, through its transfer door, into the live traps, one by one, then took the cover off the drop trap, propped it back up and waited again.

A few minutes later, Boots, the little black tux wandered up, and then went under the trap too, and I got him, same way.  Tigger 2, one of the brown tabby teens, did not show up, however, so I left two traps set and took off.

I picked up an unwanted kitten, found with her head stuck in a chain link fence, by someone I'd trapped for, in Lebanon, before heading home.

Mama Kitty was finally fixed yesterday.

Boots, a little girl, was fixed too

Coal was fixed also and also is a little girl

Tigger 1 and Char were also fixed.  Char, the second black teen, is the only boy of the six Speedway cats.

Tigger 2, also a girl, was fixed yesterday.  Thankfully, she finally got into a live trap I left set up there in the evening.
And lastly, a couple photos of Bloosy, ha, a sweet wildy enthusiastic dark gray kitten, now in the bathroom with the wild boys from the rural Linn area  They play like maniacs!  Bloosy is going to KATA on Saturday.  In the meantime, we're having fun!

Yesterday was a very good day for local cats.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Marathon of a Different Sort

Sometimes cat situations are not so easy.

The most difficult ones are always when cats and kittens are not being fed, just sighted somewhere.  This makes it hard, because there is nowhere you can trap them, like at a place they usually get fed.

Such was the case with a mom and kittens spotted in rural Linn.  Nobody on the short street wanted to feed them or even knew where they hung out for sure.

Dutifully I set traps and immediately began to catch baby possums.  Or teen possums, really.  Over and over again.  But finally, middle of the night, the second night, still having seen no kittens, I caught their mom.  I'd been spending my time, exhausting myself, driving back and forth to check traps every few hours, or sitting in a homeowner's driveway, who is away on vacation, where the kittens were spotted.

It wasn't all bad.  The nights are beautiful out there.  The stars vivid!  It's literally dark, not like the city where I live, lit to almost daylight by street lamps and paranoid neighbors front and back porch lights, and garage lights.  There's no darkness to be found in the city.

I loved it and marveled at the darkness and the quiet.  And yearned again to leave city living behind.

I finally spotted kittens one night late, two of them.  One black, one tabby, out in the dead corn patch.  I set a trap, but the kitten I caught was white and gray.   So there were more than two.  Then I caught a tabby, too, and thought maybe there was just one left.  Until I spotted another tabby kitten.  That would be the last time I saw those two kittens, despite herculean efforts on my part.

I finally brought two teen possums home, so they'd stay out of the traps.  They'd be in the trap every ten minutes.   I housed them in a cage with a carrier and soon they were even using the litter box.  Wow!

I caught another unknown adult, who will be fixed tomorrow.  Mom, I named her Gypsy, was fixed Monday.   I thought my barn cat placement friend might be able to place her, but turns out she is full and headed off on vacation.   Today I made the decision, after finding a big fat skunk in the trap, to take mom back.  She is the kittens' only hope.  So I did, and I took the possums back too.  They waddled off, feet paddling noisily on the barn floor as they scrabbled for cover.

I don't have trouble releasing skunks without getting sprayed.  So far anyhow.  My smaller trap is of a height skunks cannot get their tail over their heads to spray.  I just calmly release them without any trouble.  So far.  This huge one this morning was no exception and waddled off.

I had to be at the Speedway to catch some cats.  I'd taken the drop trap over a couple days ago for them to prefeed under.   I caught mom and three of the teens with the first drop.  Mom was the most important catch.  This had been her third litter.  I caught a fourth teen later when he appeared.  The fifth was a no show.  I hope they catch him soon, so he too can be fixed tomorrow.

I also picked up a kitten from a relative of some folks who found her with her head stuck in a chain link fence.  They were going to keep her but their landlord said "no".   Kata will take her Saturday.

I came home after returning mom and the possums to take a long long much needed nap.  I dreamed I was at a seed warehouse where long ago, I had trapped over 200 cats and that an ex employee was calling the office making threats and suddenly someone yelled he was outside.  I saw him through the window with a gun and looked under a cabinet thinking I could break out the back and through the wall, then I thought I better jump through the back window instead but it was a cliff behind it, but I saw him outside again and that's when I woke up.

I suppose the dream was prompted by the latest workplace shooting.

I feel renewed from my nap.  Tomorrow 8 or 9 local cats will be fixed at whs.   Five from the Speedway, six if they catch that last teen, plus the unknown from the rural barn and two from down in Brownsville.  So it will be a good day tomorrow for local cats.

Gypsy's two boys, 8 weeks of age, are in my bathroom and I think will be fairly easy to tame.  They are robust and clear eyed.
Gypsy on the right, and the two kittens I did catch, both boys.

Unknown catch, wild, good shape, will be fixed and vaccinated tomorrow.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Winter Hibernation Sounding Good

Have you ever just wanted to crawl into a hole and not come out til the sun does again?

That's how I'm feeling.  Dreary and old and awkward.

I did myself in last week trying to catch the mom of those kittens.  Then I find the trap closed middle of one night, only to discover nobody was in it.  I go in to ask the clerks if anyone has been back there and sure enough, she had just encountered a homeless man out back.   Shoot, I thought, did he spring it, digging around, or did he let the cat go.  It was one or the other probably.

I knew it was hopeless then.  So for now I;m just feeding her.  She has seen two of her litters trapped along with her two brothers.  What are the chances I'll ever get her?  And in the meantime, I was wearing myself down severely and not taming those four kittens, her latest.  They're leaving tomorrow.  I'm embarrassed they've been with me a week and I've had no time to tame them.

Along with that Miss Daisy crashed.   She was heaving for air, weak, and in the end, wouldn't eat.  She is my best friend whom I dearly love.  I really have no friends whom I see much anymore.  They've all moved or died or gotten ill with age or just have family they spend most time with.

So Miss Daisy has been my delight, the optimist who makes me laugh, who takes shit off no one.  In fact, she has to be anesthetized to be examined by a vet, which is a problem, if she cannot withstand anesthesia.  Her last visit in late spring early summer nearly killed her.  It was the anesthesia required to even get a blood draw.  She is not feral, but the most difficult cat to medicate or to give fluids.  I knew this would become a severe problem as she aged.

I began the horrible debate in my mind.  Should I take her in?  The final trip.  This was a devastating thought, not so much that she would die, but the horror she goes through just to be taken to a vet.  I didn't want to put her through such a violent frightening end.

So I stalled and began to give her fluids, which is not easy, even when she is weak.  She still twists and does backward rolls and screams and I can give fluids to ferals but I don't want to hurt my Miss Daisy.  So its hard for me.

I began feeding her bits of butter.  She wouldn't eat anything else and in the back of my mind I wondered if she was backed up which can cause pressure both on lungs and heart.  How do I know?  Yup.  Happens to me.

I gave her pain meds leftover from her last visit too.   I couldn't get them down her then but now I told myself I had to be the adult, buck up, all that.  I told myself as she twisted and fought the fluids, she will die if she doesn't get them.  I said it like a mantra.

Today, I got up early and went to feed the Circle K girl, then got ready to go to a Portland animal volunteer event.  I shouldn't have gone, I realize now, but it sounded like it might be fun.  Except I didn't know anyone who would be there, not very well anyhow.

I put my magnetic business sign on the side of my car before leaving.  I felt maybe it would help me somehow, make contacts or something.  I wanted to feel proud of what I do, and felt among other rescue types, I could be myself,  and I don't much feel that way around here.  Guess I feel nobody cares around here.   Or something.  I mostly keep to the shadows. I'm most comfortable out under the stars in the dark with the wild cats.  I've become shy over the years.  Too little human contact.  So much rejection. 

I drove up to Portland, parked my car and embarked on a animal volunteer appreciation cruise on the Portland Spirit. That was what the event was.  It was really for Portland area volunteers but I got a ticket through the FCCO.   A pet supply store hosted the whole thing which is extremely generous of them.  I've never been to the store and probably never will as it sounds kind of upscale for me.

Most of the groups there were tight knit and stuck together.  I felt out of place, alone and awkward, so I was aching to get off and get home very quickly.  Once I got off and went to my car, I immediately saw my magnetic sign was gone.

Holy crap, I thought.

I couldn't remember for sure if it was on the car when I got out, once in Portland, or not.  It's never fallen off the car before but I thought I suppose maybe it did.  More likely it was stolen.   I was very upset.  I tried not to be but my rough week cast a negative charge into my thoughts about the sign's disappearance.

I proceeded then to get lost trying to find the freeway to get home and drove endlessly.  I ended up in a massive traffic jam for 40 minutes too.  I cursed the car, being a stick shift and difficult to manage in such traffic.   Not long after that, suddenly, three engine codes came up on the dash.  Shoot.

I made it to the rest area on the freeway and pulled in.  I was going to reset the codes so they'd vanish from my sight at least, so I wouldn't worry about the car too as much, without them blaring in front of my eyes, but then I didn't.  I just sobbed.

I suppose it was more about Miss Daisy than anything else and being tired and wishing I had friends or family, anyone.

There was nothing I could do about whatever was going on with the car, so I just drove it home.

I get home and low and behold, Miss Daisy is on her feet, not laid out, and meowing loudly in greeting.   I am astonished and thrilled.  She wants wet food but eats little when I put some out.   I start cleaning litter boxes and find a huge poop that looks like Miss Daisy's.  This too thrills me and makes me surmise that maybe after all she was blocked and we may not have to keep that appointment.  .   My spirits soar in hope.

They're still soaring.  It's too soon really to tell.  I had an appointment made for her end of days.   I hope we don't have to keep it.

So today needs to be forgotten.   Tomorrow is a new day.

I suppose for the records, as I always do, I should post photos of four cats who went to be fixed last week.  Last Monday it was the final cat from the Hill street four.   Nala, another torti, now they're all fixed.

Nala, fixed last Monday

Bonita did go to my friends vet Tuesday but I got no information whatsoever really.  She decided not to adopt her and brought her back within 1 1/2 hours, told me her vet said she would need to be on ear and eye meds for life.  I tried to question her but she knew nothing and so it was a great disappointment.

Useless really.

Then on Wednesday, the final kitten, now a teen, from the Lebanon Sticks colony I mostly trapped in the summer, was fixed.  I called her Java and she went back out there to keep her mom company.  Her mom is fixed.  So is a big male.  Five other kittens I took out of there.  Done with that one too.

The sixth cat from that Sodaville road group was also fixed last Wednesday, a male, they call, for some reason, Sr. Junior.

Sr. Junior, fixed last Wednesday

Beaches, also fixed last Wednesday an Albany Queen street girl

Saturday, October 07, 2017

And even MORE kittens.....

I was tagged in a facebook post.  Someone had heard kittens again, in the dumpster at Circle K.

Shoot, I thought, I bet that gray female had another litter.

I'd caught her last three---Twinkie, Sitka and Wrangle, back in late July I think it was, along with two adult males, one of them gray, whom I thought would be the mother.  But nope, he was a he!  Those two adult boys, brothers, are living it up in the gorge now, even have heated beds.  Twinkie went to a friend of mine while Sitka and Wrangle went up to Lake Oswego.  I have a friend there who is a most excellent kitten tamer.   She renamed them Jade and Sadie.  Jade tamed fast and got a home and just recently, Sadie did also. 

I tried to catch the gray female, once I realized the gray one I caught was a boy, off and on for two more weeks, but since the cats are not fed at the Circle K, I never intercepted her.  Now, I thought, was my big chance.

I arrived, after seeing that post, about 10:00 p.m. in the parking lot.  What I saw however was a crowd of maybe a dozen people, all trying to find the kittens.  Holy bottle babes!

It took me awhile to convince them this was not good, that they were likely feral with a feral mom and all this activity would not make it easy to find and catch them. 

That didn't end it though.  Circle K clerks were inundated with people wanting to look for the kittens.  They even received a call from someone wanting to know when their dumpster would be emptied.  Someone must have felt it should be searched before it was emptied for kittens.

And me, just trying to discreetly trap them, felt frustrated.  Every time groups of people showed up to search, I knew that would set me back a day in ever trapping them.  Nonetheless, I set kitten traps and checked them every two hours day and night, from a distance through a fence, until I was near collapse.  I couldn't go on.  I posted online that they were gone, that she'd moved them, trying to slow the flow of people looking and went to bed.  I slept 12 hours.

Finally, yesterday, when checking back, I spotted mom.  She stared at me poignantly.  I went to give her food and water.   Ten minutes after I did that, she brought out two kittens.  It was almost as if she was telling me, "Here, take them.  Please!  I can't handle them anymore."

 I trapped two, very quickly.  I left with them and came back, wondering if there were more.  I set a small trap but one bigger than a kitten trap.  I hoped to catch mom.  Instead within a couple hours, I caught two more kittens.  I don't know if there are more.   I don't think there are.  I was told by a neighbor who looks down on the area, that there were only four.
Calico kitten heads into kitten trap

But mom needs caught and fixed.  I asked my friend with the friend in the gorge who took her brothers if she thought he would take her too, if I catch her.  She says she'll ask.

Who did I catch?  The usual mix for the Circle K crowd---a long hair calico, a long hair muted calico, a short hair tabby on white boy and of course, in that bunch there had to be a Siamese.  Yes, one Siamese mix boy.   Trapping other times there, with other mothers, I've caught a lot of Siamese kittens.

The little calico girl is priceless.  She prances around, arches her back and already sits on my lap. 

This is the calico, or maybe better called tabical, her calico markings are mixed with tabby stripes.
The two boys, including the token Siamese of the mix

The girls, the muted torti long hair on the right

Four more kittens.  Yup.  I hope I catch their mom and end that cycle.

Somebody is feeding her elsewhere.   She doesn't touch dry food, so she's getting fed somewhere.

Bonita is still here, but I believe going to my friend's vet on Tuesday.  I've called Bonita by a few names since getting her fixed for the House of Cats in Albany only to have her refuse to leave the trap when I tried to return her.  Turns out she is functionally blind.  She likes my bathroom. I clean her eyes and pet her every day.  She's gained weight.  She uses the litter box and she likes me and trusts me.  However, I am hoping very much my friend adopts her.  She thinks she will, besides taking her to her vet for eye assessment.  Which is wonderful.  A great gift.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Another Heart Rending Situation

Helping cats gives me a sense of accomplishment and gives meaning to my otherwise rather bland and lonely life.

However, helping cats, which is really helping people too, is not easy.   Ever.

People rarely donate.   People demand I remove cats or else.   Situations I run into are often terribly sad, not only for the animals but for the people too.

I try to remain stoic over it, but overload occurs and I delve into fits of crying, nightmares and depression.

I just took 8 more cats to be fixed yesterday.  Five of them were tame and living life hard outside Lebanon, as so many animals do around these parts, where people are very very poor and live in dire situations themselves in conditions you would not think fit this century even.

Yeah, I suppose you could preach to me that people get themselves into it from poor choices or whatever.   That is sometimes the case I'm sure.  I'm not one to judge with any authority being an idiot myself on choices and very imperfect and making lots of life mistakes.

However, leaving this particular rural property, after picking up the first five needing fixed, I saw a coyote, broad daylight, not far from the property, and knew why they'd had so many cats vanish. The realization of predation is there in my mind, for outside cats, but then you see the coyote, and know the cats in the back of my car will not have long lives at all and that not only do they face extreme parasites, lack of nutrition, but also predators waiting to tear them up alive.  Makes it very painful to help cats in such a mess.   And when the Siamese mom and a Siamese kitten were here, two nights, before and after surgery, the adult girl ate an entire bowl of dry food, plus several cans of wet, leading me to wonder how much food they actually get at home.  I'm sure the starvation of the female was directly linked to having litter after litter and being full of parasites, the former now taken care of and the latter at least temporarily taken care of.  They're all tame.

Knowing they have had so many disappear and many others die, presumably from heavy fleas, I asked if the woman if they might relinquish especially the white cats since they are spotted easily by predators.  She was not interested at this time.

All the way home, I was distracted over it and finally had to pull over.  I wanted to sob my guts out, vomit, something.  There's been too many bad situations lately.  I am on emotional overload trying to bear it. .

It will pass.  I'll get over it as the next situations loom, but its not easy to see so much suffering and apathy and cruelty and irresponsibility as often as I do.   Not easy.

Baby, a darling Siamese kitten, was fixed yesterday.

Haley was fixed too.   Her kittens, born a few days ago, all died.  She had no milk for them.

Mikey is a very very sweet boy.

Mina is sweet too, a little black boy.

SJ never stopped crying when in the car, and was the most worried, despite being the biggest of the cats and healthier than the others.  

I had only five reservations yesterday, but then someone else gave me theirs since they were too tired to trap.   So with three extra reservations, I went and trapped 3 at an Albany location.  A young couple moved into a house to discover cats with kittens out back. 

Medusa, young black female fixed yesterday

Oscar, black male fixed yesterday

Tortilla, a classic torti, fixed yesterday
At least those five rural cats are fixed and no more will be born to die from them.  That's the only solace with that situation.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Projects Done

I had to take it easy yesterday after over doing things, trying to get projects completed before rain hit and it did pour yesterday.

Hard to believe I've lived here almost 11 years now.  I built those outside cat runs a decade ago.  Seriously!!!

The wire on the cat window box had deteriorated.  I originally built the window box with wire sides.  I connected the window box to the inside via cat doors, through the partly open dining room window, which I can still close, behind the cat doors, to seal off access to the window box from inside.  But, a year later, I had found windows I put over the wire, from outside, but had never removed that wire.  The wire, over the years, became rusted and caught cat hair, and was difficult to clean. 

So I did it. I removed the wire.  I'd meant to do it all summer.  It wasn't an easy job.  I needed to turn the big window around, to be opened from inside, for safety.  I'd found the window as a treasure at the Habitat Store when they were moving, for $5.  A vinyl window!

I removed the window still in its home made frame, turned it around, and before reinstating it, removed all that old wire.  I'd attached the wire with fence staples and getting those out not easy.  I repainted the frame too. And sealed all edges with silicone caulk, for weather proofing.
I removed the wire that used to cover the window box behind the big window, turned the window around, and repainted the frame.

The next step was removing wire from the end of the cat window box and replacing it with wood, so cold air could not seep inside that way, through the cat doors.  I got a cheap piece of plywood to  cover the area, and measured and measured, before I removed the wire fast and replaced it with the already painted board piece.  I'd not blocked the cats from access which was not bright, but it went fast and they did not try to escape.
There used to be wire on the end of the window box, but now it is covered with a painted board.

And next up, replacing wire covering the top run with two four foot by 12 inch white vinyl coated wire shelves.  This project wasn't easy either, removing fence stapled in old wire, painting the 2x4's they had been attached to, then hanging the new vinyl coated shelves, one of them on hinges to lift for cleaning that run.  I finished that the day before the rain began, in a marathon.
The upper run now has white vinyl wire shelves instead of the old wire.

There are more wire sections need replaced but the rains are here now and whether or not we get a good span of decent weather to do more, well I don't know if that will happen.

 I got the above ground downspout drain pipe repaired too and yesterday put some dirt against it to hold it in place.  I pulled up most of the dying sunflowers too, cut up the stalks, some over an inch in diameter, and hung the seeded heads, some a foot across, for the birds, who devour the seeds, usually within a day.

I have trimmed a lot of tree branches too, those I can reach with the extendable pruner, and cut them up for the yard debris cart, as I have space, with a hand saw.

So I was done in yesterday, shoulders inflamed, arms sometimes numb, and forced to relax.  I enjoyed the day with my cats. 

Miss Daisy is growing weaker and older and I know I won't have her with me much longer.  I spend as much time as I can with her.   I have two other old cats failing with age now.  I think I will lose all three this winter.  I hope I'm wrong.  It's hard to accept most of my cats are now over ten years old.   

Soloman is one of my old cats.  He is kind hearted and loves all the other cats.  
And my beloved Miss Daisy, who is failing, which irks her.  She has suffered now five years from ibs and its a wonder she is still alive.  It is a difficult ailment to manage in cats.

I love her so

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Six Cats Fixed Monday

Got six cats fixed Monday up in Salem.  Five of them were one family, a mom and her four black teens, from a trailer park in Albany.   These cats were living under a trailer right behind the street where I got so many fixed, last winter and spring, where my car was hit from behind, when I was parked, by a woman who lives on the street.  I called it the Albany colony, which is quite unimaginative.

The woman who hit my car died a couple days ago, from a stroke.  She'd fallen according to the colony caretaker, who invited me over for coffee, and hit her head when she fell.  She did not seek medical care, according to the colony caretaker, who lives across from her, and claimed she wanted to call the ambulance but her neighbor refused medical assistance.   Shortly after that she had a stroke.

It is sad to think about.  I knew she was suffering immeasurably from the suicide, at home, of a son.  That's what the colony caretaker had told me.  I don't know how one would live through such a thing.

I've been watching the PBS series on the Viet Nam war.  Episode two followed the story of a 17 year old, who convinced his parents to sign the papers so he could enlist early.   He went through training but was disappointed to be assigned as a clerk.  So he purposely botched his boring supply job, just so he could go into the infantry.   But it was not as he expected.  His letters home became dark.  His best friend was cut down by machine gun fire in front of him.  He carried him out of the line of fire, risking his own life to do so, but his friend died anyway.

His mother and sister, in poignant interviews, describe their worry for him as months passed.  When the mother, then the sister, describe the two soldiers coming to their door one day, to tell them their son and brother had been killed, I broke down crying. The young man was 19 when he died.  I lived through that time, as a child and teen.  The fear was in the air around the parents and siblings of soldiers.

The bad driver from the Albany colony street must have suffered greatly to have a son who killed himself at home.

Well these are the six cats fixed.  The odd cat out is the tabby on white teen boy, found as a tiny desperate wild kitten in a car lot in Corvallis, rescued, tamed and cared for then by a friend of mine who loves cats.

Gunny, from the car lot, fixed Monday
Dawn, mom of four teens, fixed yesterday

Bonzai, a teen male, fixed Monday

Belize, another teen male, fixed yesterday

Brazil, the biggest of the four teens, a boy too, fixed yesterday

Bombay, the only girl, fixed yesterday too

Dawns' four black teens then went, end of day, after they were fixed, to my friend who places barn cats.  Dawn came home with me, spent the night, then I took her back to the woman who feeds her.  It's nice when I catch the entire group of cats at once, so no need to selectively trap for one or two later.  There was a male she wanted to get done too but I'd already gotten him fixed from the other street.