Tuesday, April 17, 2018

7 More and Rain Continues

Seven more local cats headed up to Salem to be fixed yesterday. 

I went all the way to Sweet Home, to a familiar trailer park, to get out four big boys, who all badly needed fixed.  They were free roaming and fighting.  One black bobtail, Rogue, had a flopped over swollen left ear, from fighting, in fact.

The clinic staff drained the infection and gave him a long lasting antibiotic injection and hopefully that will help.  The fixing is free but the antibiotic injection cost $15, a small price to pay to help this lovely boy hopefully have a better outcome.

What will help him most is the neuter.  Eventually those male hormones that make him want to fight, and ignore cars to run across highways in search of love or enemies, will recede, like a tide, and he will be prone to peace then.  It's the only thing that saves boys from themselves.

Rogue, who has the flopped injured ear.

Gordy, a lovable brown tabby trailer park boy.

Gizmo, another of the trailer park boys.

Storm, a pretty boy, but also huge.
I was stunned to learn a long time resident there, and drama creator, with many cats, all fixed by me, moved out with her mom, leaving the cats behind.  Not that I was shocked.   I can fix cats there til I drop dead and there will always be more needing fixed there.  It's a tiny trailer park with high turnover and often high drama and drug problems.   A tenant moves out or is taken to jail, leaves their cats, more tenants with new unfixed cats move in....a never ending cycle.  It's so sad for the cats and the kids.

It affected me enough I had to leave immediately when I heard the news upon returning the boys, after a long day.   I told the woman who told me the news, also a big time drama creator, who does not always tell the truth, I would not be back, that I get these cats fixed up there and a month or two months later, I find out they've been abandoned and nobody steps in to try to help them.

I sobbed on the way home, thinking of all those cats there, don't have a chance, left to fend on their own and be the recipients along with others like them, of mean hateful comments on facebook groups from people who don't like cats in their yards.  They have no chance of finding mercy.  People are too worried about some poop in their yards to see the desperate eyes and hearts of these lost souls, victims of humans.  If they knew their stories of hardship, would people care then?

I called KATA's director from a parking lot.  She's been doing this for years up there.  She started as a rural route mail carrier.  She'd see the horrors everyday, cats everywhere, as she delivered mail, and she chose to do something about it and formed a nonprofit.  She and her partner in caring would trap hundreds of cats and take them to be fixed at mobile FCCO clinics.  These clinics gave a one time shot at fixing up to 100 cats at a time but were labor intensive and not an efficient way to end over population, as it was one day and clinics, that locals had to organize, including recruiting volunteer vets, were months apart.  Nonetheless they did their best.   They morphed into more of an adoption group than a spay neuter group, although they still do TNR (trap, neuter, return).  She is in her mid sixties now and her friend, in her mid 70's.  Still they do more work than two dozen young folks would or could.  We often lament what will happen when all the old cat trappers die.

She told me they picked up a cat there at that same trailer park a few weeks ago, one I knew, one I'd gotten fixed two years ago, front foot smashed.  Two guys now living in the same trailer as the drama queen who left her cats behind when she moved out had gotten him help.  They call him Otis and his front leg was so badly damaged it had to be amputated.  he's already got a home.  So she said maybe these two guys will help the cats in that park.  That made me feel better.

I also took up two Lebanon girls, also from a trailer park, both in heat, to be fixed.  Isis and Fiona.

Fiona, from Lebanon, fixed yesterday.

Isis, a little Lynx Point girl, from Lebanon was also fixed.
And the seventh cat fixed yesterday was Waters, the gray boy from the county park.  He's back in my garage next to Hootie, the little black girl from same place fixed a week ago. They're waiting for a new place to call home, a barn home or a shop home, anything like that. 

I usually don't take in cats to relocate but I can't afford to feed more at the county park.  I am hoping my friend who places barn cats will soon recover and will be able to find them a place.

The rain still pounds down here.  My backyard is a miserable swamp of standing water.  The soil cannot hold more.  The valley is composed of dense clay for the most part, and clay is not known for water absorption ability.  I'm not sure how much more rain I can absorb either.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Long Days in the Park

Some might think spending hours for several days in the county park, mostly while rain pounded down, might be a bummer.

I complained about it online but that was fake, to make it sound like such a hardship.

In reality, I escaped reality out there.  I read books, an entire book the first day in the park.  I was after a pregnant mackerel tabby teen, whom I have yet to catch, she's so trap shy.  I caught two other cats, a black pregnant young adult, Hootie, fixed last Monday, and Waters, a gray medium hair presumed male, who will be fixed tomorrow.

And when I handed one of my cards to a worker at the park cleaning restrooms, he pointed out tent campers, and said they had lots of kittens they were trying to get rid of.  I drove over to those tents.  They happened to be packing to leave.  And I happened to know them.

They were in the park camping out homeless two years ago, when I was getting scores of cats fixed there and out of there.  SCORES!!!

The camp host had given them a male kitten born in the park.  I got him fixed.  I didn't know she gave them a female too later on.

They called me months later.  By then they had a place at South Fork trailer park in Sweet Home and wanted the girl fixed.   I made the appointment, arranged a pick up time with them, and drove all the way to Sweet Home to get her.  Inside, I found the woman sitting in a pile of dirty clothes on the floor.  She said she didn't want her fixed, that she just wanted to ask me some questions.  I blew a cork.  This was entitlement fever she had raging.

That was the last I heard from them, until two days ago in the park.  They'd stayed their limit on time there and were moving on, to another campground.  Inside the tent I saw the boy I'd gotten fixed, now a grown cat, inside a soft shell carrier.  The female, with four kittens, all were crammed in a small hard shell carrier.  It reeked.  My stomach began to churn with hurt for those cats.

At first she didn't want to give them all up to me even though she'd been trying to give them away to others.  Finally she asked for the female back, fixed too, once the kittens are weaned. (that entitlement fever had made a come back) and said to take them all. I gave my card to one of the two guys, said please try to talk her out of taking the mom back, that no cat should live like that, taking a last glance at that male, and took the mom and kittens home.  Inside the filthy carrier, was a filthy adult diaper, soaked in urine and waste.   The mom cat, also born in the county park, is very very sweet.  She'd already had three litters recently, in the last months, one of the two guys said.

Mom and two of the four kittens
Urine and feces soaked diaper was in the carrier along with mom and four kittens
Frustration over this awfulness and inability to catch that little mackerel tabby teen filled me with anxiety and sadness all that restless night and the next day.  It was hard to shake off.

 I had told the man to call me in three to four weeks about getting the female back.  He has my number.  It's on him to call, not on me to find them.   I think/hope he knows they can't handle caring for cats in their present situation.  I hope he doesn't call for her to come back.  KATA and I agreed that we will give them a month, which is the outside end of when I asked him to call, plus five days beyond a month, then she will officially not go back.  The little family is going to KATA today.  If I thought it would help I would get the law involved but it won't help.  Not here, where I live.

But I shook off the anxiety and was back at the park, back at it, after that little female, probably trapped along with the two other newcomers, to dump there, as they were all abnormally trap shy.  I never caught her.  The little tabby never moved from one small area for the first three weeks I saw her there, like she was waiting, maybe for somebody to come back and get her.  But they never have.  If she was tame once, and she probably was because she'd only move a few feet from me, but out of reach, she's fast turning feral.  It is how it works.

Again, it was more like a vacation, away from everyone, could turn off the phone, or leave it on and watch video online. If there were breaks in the downpour, I'd take a short walk.

 At one point, a friend texed me.  The text said, "We just bombed Syria."  This made me glance up, for some reason, into the darkening sky, to see if Russian missiles were incoming here.  I guess I expect it in this day and age, that any moment we could be in a nuclear war.  There's nothing I can do about it.  I don't watch the news anymore.

The kittens are leaving today.  I got seven cats going up to be fixed tomorrow.  Four from Sweet Home, two from Lebanon and one from the park---Waters.   Hootie and Waters, the park newcomers are waiting here, until my barn cat placement friend is recovered from a medical issue.  Then they go with her.  They're eating up a storm and looking so much better, in the meantime.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

13 More

I got 13 more cats from the new colony just south of Albany fixed yesterday at two clinics.  Six were fixed at Heartland Humane and seven were done up at Willamette Humane's spay neuter clinic.  This makes 21 cats fixed there in just over a week.  8 from the same colony were fixed last Monday at Willamette Humane.

This is not one of those colonies that was easy to see or think about.  I waded through a soaked yard.  I caught many of them this time by tying a string around the neck of a full water bottle propped under the trap door, to hold it up.  That way I didn't catch the already fixed cats who ate so much wet food I thought they must have an extra stomach!

I urged them to get the tame ones (which is most of them) into shelters and rescues.   Heartland was ready to take the three teens who are super tame but on the day they said they'd take them over, they didn't.

At least they will be fixed and vaccinated.

Except for three.   I had reservations given me today for the last two adult males, one black and one orange.  I was too tired, driving too much, up to Salem, then over to Corvallis, twice, to drop off, then to pick up, to catch those boys myself.  With urging, the feeder put one boy, who is tame, in a trap but never did get the orange one.  So there's the orange free roaming boy needs fixed and two more she has inside her trailer.  She says she has bought vouchers to get them fixed.

Here are the six who were fixed at Heartland.

Billy, a young brown tabby boy, fixed yesterday.

Cringer, a gray tabby tux young male, fixed yesterday.

Sheann, a very young tabby tux girl, fixed yesterday.

PJ, a mackerel tabby girl, fixed yesterday.

Sylvester, a black tux male, fixed yesterday.

Sly, a gray tux little boy, fixed yesterday.
And the seven all black ones were fixed up in Salem.

This is Blackie, a male
This is Midnight, a female.  I'd been told she was very pregnant, but she was not pregnant at all.  But...labeled post partum, which means she has had kittens withn the last few months.  She was not lactating, however, at all.  The kittens may have been born dead, born and died, born and she walked away from them, or killed by dogs or other predators.  It's been pouring rain here and she could have had them out in that, causing their deaths.
Mismatch, a medium hair black boy fixed yesterday.
Rollie, who is young and has a URI, but nonetheless fixed.
Sargent, a black male, also fixed yesterday.
And lastly, Squaker, another black male.
Wait, I forgot Twitch, the other female, spayed yesterday too.
I'll return them today, but will have to get some help from somebody with a car.  I drive the two I have to be fixed today, Howler, another black male from this same colony, then the little feral black teen from the county park, up to the clinic then take my car to the mechanic.

Yesterday, I also mowed the front lawn because it was really nice and sunny out.  The lawn hadn't dried out from the soaking wet weekend but its already raining again, and will be for awhile, so it was the only chance I'd have.

Well, be a busy day of mostly cleaning and hoping my car problem is minor and cheap.  Ha!  How delusional I've become over the years.

UPDATE:   It's a right front hub bearing gone bad on the car, I believe the mechanic said, be fixed by 3:00 today. 

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Sheltering in Place

There are few spay neuter reservations to be had lately.

Fortunately I have a few weekly appointments until the end of April already made.  That's how I got 8 of the new colony cats fixed last Monday.  This Monday I have 7 more appointments and will get  7 more of them done, leaving at least five in need of fixing there.

So I've been doing projects around the house.  I got the 2nd bedroom completely done with the vinyl remnants covering it.   It looks nice, I think, even though the vinyl was very very cheap, being in the remnant corner.

Two more cats showed up at the county park, where I worked an entire summer to get cats fixed there, then had to remove the majority of them.   I don't know where they came from, possibly probably dumped there.  Both are very young.  Just teenagers.  They appeared at the same time.

One looks pregnant.  I have not been able to catch her, despite hours spent trying, but I did catch her little buddy, a very young all black, now in the garage, also awaiting one of the scarce spay neuter reservations.  I believe they were likely trapped to be dumped.  They are very trap shy and that is not ordinary for hungry teens.  It's a constant problem there.

The original problem was created by camp hosts who either fed cats or had cats that were not fixed and let them reproduce in the briars.  The kittens grew up wild had kittens of their own, etc.  The camp hosts move on and leave them too on their own.  Homeless campers then would bring their pets to the park with them, and leave them when they left.   So it won't end there, as long as there are heartless irresponsible people,  but when I get involved in an area I tend to keep involved to try to keep things under control.  Last fall it was a mom and her teen kittens left under a picnic table in a makeshift cage.  Kata took them.

I get lots of requests to trap all over the valley and can't do it all especially with such limited access to spay neuter.  I don't do removal.  Even when I tell people that, plain and simple, they still think I will.   I have to cut it off short with those requests or I start in with the nightmares about the poor cats involved.   Been doing this too long maybe.   The stress reaction can begin just with a few words someone says now.  In Benton County, they have animal control for removal situations.  That person is paid and so let them do it.  In Linn County, we have no services at all.

We have no affordable spay neuter here in Linn county either.  We're very fortunate that Heartland Humane, in Benton County, offers up leftover space in their surgery, when available, to Linn County rescues for spay neuter.  This space is very limited but we'll take what we can get over here.

Our only other option is Willamette Humane in Salem, or the drive clear to Portland, to the FCCO, which means spending the day in Portland and battling the horrendous congestion on the way up and the way back, which now can add hours to the trip.

Oregon is experiencing a massive influx of people.  The roads and highways cannot handle the influx.  We are in crisis and everybody knows it but often people blame the state for not building bigger massive highways sooner.  The point really is there are too many people moving here to handle.

I can understand why people want to leave bleak violent urban environments for Oregon.  I was born in Oregon.  I can't even tolerate the thought of living somewhere without greenery and a way to get away.  But now I find myself living in a rapidly growing freeway city surrounded in grass seed fields, that cause me allergies, and wishing I had a way out.  It's too crowded, too many cars, too many people and no nature to be had without driving a long way.  My older brother and his wife finally left congested expensive Portland for Idaho and they like it there.  I may never see them again is the downside of that.

 Oregon was already tagged as 2nd most expensive living state in the union.  Gas prices here fifth highest.  Why?  I don't know why everything is so expensive here.  Even water/sewer rates in this town where I live are going up, up and up.  The city wants to raise rates 13% per year.  That's nuts and there's no way many of us could ever afford that if they do it.

I'm still paying on the new old car and now it has to go to the shop.  On left curves when driving it makes a sometimes very load growling noise.  I think it might be a wheel bearing, or otherwise is somehow related to steering or wheels.

The appointment is Tuesday.  Wish me luck its not something major or really expensive.

At least the high wind storm predicted for yesterday wasn't so much of anything.  There was wind but nothing spectacular.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

The Brief Reprieve

I'm talking about a reprieve from awful weather, not from cat fixing.

Briefly our weather turned nice. Then came today. Easter Sunday.  April Fools Day.  And with it came rain and cold and it is not supposed to relent in the near future. 

This is messing people up.  It's messing me up.  I get all happy when the sun comes out, then here comes the cold and rain and I feel hurt, then angry and bitter and I refuse to put on a rain coat and stare into the sky like its my enemy and I'm ready to square off.

I do have eight extra cats in my garage set up in cages.

They're all from the new colony south of town.  There are allegedly 11 more there in need of fixing.  I only have 8 reservations.  She was supposed to get females.  She said they were all tame enough to put into traps.  Instead, she put only three females in traps, and only one of those was an adult.

Lily, the only adult female she got.     

Skank, a tame teen female.

Patches, on the left, another teen female.  Stripes, a male, is on the right.
LT, a gray tabby male

Stevie, a very young kittenish boy
Smokey, a large male

Willy, a teen one eyed boy

This morning I was called about a mom cat, tame, a stray, who some folks found in their garage, in a cardboard box, with four brand new black kittens.  ARCF again stepped in to say they'd take them.

They've got black mama from the Riverside Drive colony now who had five beautiful kittens.  Four boys and one girl.
Such gorgeous kittens!
But they had room for one more mom with kittens and I'm happy they did.  I was told this garage mom had at least two other litters, but likely many more.

I went and got her and set her up in my bathroom with her newborns.  Tomorrow I'll take them to ARCF's foster, in Wilsonville.
Black mom with her four black kittens.  They're tough to spot against black mom.

So on life goes despite all the rain and cold and allegedly high winds next weekend.  Whatever.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Just Another Trip to the Coast Clinic

I made the long trek to the coast clinic again.   The drive always seems shorter on the way over and infinitely longer on the way back.  It generally does take much longer driving home.  Yesterday was no exception.  I hit the Portland area just after 5:00 and once highway 217 met the interstate, traffic stopped dead.   For miles then, stop, go a few feet and stop again, went on and on.  My brain took me elsewhere, to a beach, warm sun, sound of water lapping.  I wasn't there, in the midst of that jam of metal and fumes and stress.
There was old snow along the road in the coast range.

I took Mops, an older black and white male, and Trouble, a young torbi girl, along with me to see the vet.

I had wanted to take Mops in, to the vet, to have his mouth checked, for a year, but he would elude me when I tried to catch him before a clinic trip.  Not this time.   Years ago, he had 11 bad teeth pulled.   Now I feared the rest would need out because he had been pawing at the sides of his mouth and working his jaw.  However, he'd ended his mouth problem sort of on his own, I found out, after the day ended and I picked up the cats.  He'd lost the teeth bothering him at some point and needed no further mouth care or even cleaning.  I was good with that.

Trouble needed updated on vaccines and worming.  I hoped, since she's young, she had no tooth issues yet.  She didn't, just a bit of tartar.

After I checked in the cats at the clinic, I went out to the south jetty again, one of several beach accesses off a main road, outside Hammond.  I park in the lot there, and sometimes nap.  There's a restroom too.  When the tide isn't in, you can get out to the beach.  So I went out and as I came up over the rise to see the ocean, I saw a big bird sitting atop rocks on the jetty.   Looked too massive to be a real bald eagle from the distance but it was.  They are a common sight in that area, as they are here in the valley.

There were the usual assholes on the beach in pickups.  I call them the laziest people on earth too.   I don't like to see vehicles on the beach.  There are plenty of roads and just narrow strips of beach.  Can't they at least give it a rest there.  

More eagles in Astoria along the Columbia River, but they looked filthy, from mud or oil.

Lots of Sea Lions on the docks.

They have cameras on them now.  Many are being branded, literally, with burning irons.

NOAA monitoring station near the lions.

Wetlands near the south jetty.  A lot of people were wading through them, even though birds are nesting out there.
The video shows why we're told to never play on logs in the surf.

Mops, none the worse for the wear.

Trouble, the youngest cat here at 2.5 years old.  Good to go, all updated on everything.

I'm good to go too.  I like getting out of town.  I'd like it better if I could stay overnight on these trips.  Too much driving otherwise for one day.  Gas prices are climbing rapidly in Oregon.  Over $3 a gallon now, and at the coast, $3.19 most stations.  Makes my budget much tighter and I think this might be only the beginning of price inflation for many things.

It's pretty over there. I like the river walkway in Astoria, a path that goes along the river for over 3 miles.  I walked a good share of it yesterday too.  The city gets jammed up though in the summer and even on spring break with Portland people and many others coming to enjoy the coast or just get away from the rat race for a few days.  Oregon has gotten jammed with people, so our roads, getaway spots, even trail heads are often very crowded.  
Well, resting up today, starting a new colony tomorrow, mid size, maybe 15 cats or so.

The Riverside Drive colony cat Black Mama had five kittens a couple days ago.  She's up with Animal Rescue and Care Fund.  In good hands.