Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Struggles of Ordinary People

As a cat trapper, I hear it all. People open up to strangers. I feel for the people behind the stories of their lives poured over the phone when they call me hoping I can fix their cat problems or in person when I pick up cats or trap the cats they feed. Often they are searching for acceptance, for love, for forgiveness or just for a listener. I can relate.

A woman called me over the weekend. Her male cat I got neutered a month ago had died suddenly without apparent symptoms.

I asked where she found him. By the food and water dishes, she had said, with his head resting on the water dish. This is a classic distemper death pose. I asked if he had any vomiting or diarrhea beforehand and she said he had not. She doesn't allow him outside. But this is a Heatherdale trailer park tenant, with lots of in and out visitors. Distemper can be carried in on the shoes of visitors.

He'd seemed perfectly normal the night before, following her into the bathroom as usual. She's pregnant, due early September, and has been in bed a lot. She has no job and no money and no husband. She had scrounged up $5 cash and forced it into my hand to help with my expenses. I got the male and three females fixed for her. One female gets out through a screen and comes and goes. She was pregnant. The other cats stay inside, or at least she thinks they do.

She said his back legs became paralized before he died. He showed rapid shallow breathing near his end. I told her it could have been shock caused by internal bleeding caused by poison ingestion or blunt force trauma. I asked if other people had been inside the trailer. There were some children who were there visiting with their mother, she said, and her boyfriend, who seems like a nice guy.

She buried her cat in the yard. The cat also could have had a congenital heart problem and he could have thrown a clot, causing the rear leg paralysis. He also could have been hit by a car. If one cat is coming and going, they all likely do, unbeknownst to her.

I told her to watch her other cats carefully. Females would be more prone to disease, like distemper, following a spay, because the immune response required to heal is much greater than with a neuter. Therefore, because it was the male who suddenly died, unfortunately, I do believe her cat suffered a terrible end following traumatic injury, whether accidental (hit by car) or purposeful.

I will be helping a convenience store worker fix her many cats. She has quite a history. She finally bought a house with her daughter, but is struggling to make the payments. She's not even breaking even, getting deeper and deeper into debt. She's looking for a second job, but she's over 50 and keeps getting turned down.

The job she has pays minimum, then with gas to work and back, doesn't help a lot. She gets paid twice monthly and it takes more than one of her two checks to just pay her half of the mortgage. That leaves utilities, car payments, food, insurance etc. left. They've had electric shut off at least once recently and she said they're behind on every bill.

She bought the house when she had a great paying job at Evanite. She'd moved into a Eugene apartment with her daughter. Her daughter had been homeless off and on, even when pregnant, has some issues. Then she got into housing with a HUD voucher, but her young sons then burned down the house. Now she can't get HUD assistance, for obvious reasons I suppose.

That's why her mother rented the apartment under her name down there. Also, she was trying to hide from an ex, who was stalking her. But they were evicted from there, too, when the owner decided to sell the rental. That's why they decided to buy a house together, she said, because of the instability of renting. They had no power over their own fate.

She did have the good paying job at Evanite. She didn't think paying the mortgage would be a problem. Then Evanite closed that plant. She was retrained in heavy equipment operation but never found a job in that field, although she is still trying.

The daughter's kids, all teens, are trying to find part time jobs now to pay school expenses, like for clothes and supplies. It's hard for them.

The woman grew up with an alcoholic mother. She said she attracted abusive men due to her own lacks and low self-esteem. It's getting worse out there I think. Too many low self-esteem girls and women.

I don't know what problems low self-esteem men exhibit. I wonder if they turn out to be the abusers of this world. I think it's getting worse simply because of multiplication--one couple has several children that they abuse in some manner, who each go on to have many more children, whom they may abuse or neglect who go on to have children.....etc, almost like a female cat can spawn a half million offspring with offspring of offspring in seven years, so can one abusive couple spawn thousands of dysfunctional kids who go on to breed more of same...I don't know what the answer is.

I for the most part, stayed away from men, knowing I have low self-esteem and would not feel I was good enough to be with anybody but a loser type.

I grew up in a family where women were treated like worms to be stomped, like stupid slaves, like kicking bags, like sex objects.

You can't grow up with normal perceptions of yourself in such an environment. You can't grow up feeling valuable or loved. You grow into a life of struggles, of constantly trying to prove you're good enough, an equal, valuable.

I meet women like myself out there everywhere. I wish I could hug them all.

Parenting is the most important job, if it is chosen. If you don't want to work at parenting, if you're going to be a lousy or abusive neglectful parent, don't open your legs or unzip your pants in the first place.

When I was roaming, after just being put into the mental health system, I ended up couching it with a Christian family in Albany. I'd met them when I worked at a nursing home. They had three kids. I sometimes babysat those three kids.

Then a cousin of the husband, who had had drinking problems, came to live with them also. I worried some when I heard the wife glowingly describe how well this man was doing while living there, because the descriptions became more and more like a woman in love.

Then, I came back one night to find the husband sitting mournfully at the kitchen table. "She's gone," he said. "What do you mean--gone?" I asked. She flew out to be with him. He had kicked his cousin out a week before. The cousin flew back to where he came from, the midwest somewhere. Now, the wife had flown back to be with her husband's cousin.

I left the next day. The wife came back a few months later, got on welfare and took the kids. I went back to babysitting them occasionally. I remember the five year old would run out after me when I'd leave, after their mother got home, and throw himself into my arms and beg me to take him with me. It tore at my heart. I had no real home to go to myself. I wanted to take care of him and protect him.

The cousin returned, got a job, and they married. They had three more boys. I only saw them twice more. Both times I was concerned about the boys. The mother yelled at them, but even threatened them in ways I would describe as abusive. She went into a church therapy group about it.

She contacted me recently. I'd not heard from her in years. Two of the first three kids, with the first husband, seem to be ok. The third is in prison in eastern Oregon for sex abuse, but his mother says it was with an older teen, only six or eight years younger than him and that she lied about her age.

Of the three younger boys, one is on the run, she said, from the law, another she calls a "bum", homeless or something, and constantly in trouble and the third is in trouble for allegedly molesting the young son of a woman he was rooming with.

After the original split, her first husband had married a mail order bride from some foreign country. They had later split, she said, but he recently remarried her.

Lots of troubles everywhere. On the outside, if you'd met them, as I did, glowing with religious fervor and on track with the American dream, you might think they were normal as America. But I know now, with age, there's nothing normal out there, not that I've met or seen.

This woman contacted me because her son in prison out in eastern Oregon wants to write to me. I told her that'd be fine.

The last I saw him he was five years old and begging me to take him home with me.

The Long List of Cats Needing Fixed

I got cats up the yin yang needing trapped and fixed, or just fixed.

I got the Corvallis homeless camp cats, maybe four left. So far, 16 have been trapped and fixed there, with 11 being relocated. The Prineville woman who had said she'd take maybe four now has not answered e-mails. So I"m wondering if she's still going to take four barn cats or not.

I got a Monroe woman with I don't know how many tame cats and kittens. She wouldn't tell me. Probably embarrassed. But three or four of the females at least are pregnant, she said.

I got the feral mom over off Knox Butte Road to trap.

I got the bobtail female in downtown Jefferson and three or four more strays there to trap.

I got a north Corvallis male to trap for a friend.

The folks who adopted Taylor have a low income friend with a female needing fixed and two kittens needing fixed.

I got a zillion kittens and some females running around one trailer at Heatherdale Trailer Park.

I got four or five more to trap at the Slaughterhouse colony, including a preggie.

I got south town cats to trap.

I got two owned tame Jefferson females and their litters to work in somehow.

Cats, cats everywhere. Ah well. What's new.

I got a campus mother with one kitten to find and trap.

I got to get some kittens fixed, like Cattyhopper here, the Slaughterhouse manx female, almost spay weight. Like the Slaughterhouse kittens Bittybright, now named Mojo, Shortstop and Sahari. I got to get Mona Lisa, the Beazal Park muted torbi kitten, fixed. She's now named Luna and in a home. I got to get Little Bit fixed, the final Boondoggle kitten. she wasn't quite spay weight last week. This week she will be. And Elizabeth needs spayed, a rescued black female kitten from Albany.

Oh me oh my so much fixing to do and so few appointments to get it done.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

I'm Going to S.F.

I am going to San Francisco for three days.

There will be a Feral Cat Summit the 9th in SF. My Boston friend paid for a motel room with two beds and I will be sleeping in one of them. Thank you Laura!

It's a long drive and a lot of gas money, even with such an economical car as mine is.

I have not been to SF since I went to college in the Napa Valley. I'd go into SF occasionally, just to get away from college. At that time, Oakland was one rough town, but I did hang out in Oakland, at a dive shop owned by an equally tough middle aged woman. I was a diver back then, an avid diver.

I taught myself how to scuba dive, as a child, by watching Sea Hunt and Jacques Cousteau specials. I wanted to be a marine biologist and follow in Cousteau's footsteps.

At that time, one did not have to be certified to get one's tank filled. I bought a tank off a young friend whose father had given up diving due to a near fatal diving accident. It was a U.S. Divers tank, Cousteau's company. I revered it.

It had no reserve. Then, if you ran out of air, you could pull a lever running down the side of the tank, if you had that type of valve, and that would give you five more minutes of air. I couldn't afford that type of tank, not even used.

I was 13 years old when I began diving, alone, in lakes while my parents and brothers water skiied above me. I didn't like water skiing because my father made fun of me if I wore a swim suit in public. I found escape from my fathers mean comments underwater.

I met Jacques Cousteau twice, before he died and I met Phillipe Cousteau, one of his sons. I also met Jean Michelle Cousteau when I was a student at OSU and involved with the environmental center. The center brought Jean Michelle, then estranged from his father and brother, to OSU to speak.

I got Jacques and Phillipe's autographs also, on the cover of an involvement day folder. A couple of years ago, I gave that autographed folder, in perfect condition, to my friend Keni, POPPA's director. She also is an avid diver and still goes on trips with her family and mother, to exotic locales for dives. My diving now is limited to free diving with a mask I bought at Goodwill.

I met that father son pair, both dead now, when I lived in CA. I only lived in California for two years. I went into SF a handful of times during those years.

And yet it is exciting to think of going back. I've not been to CA since the 70's. I've not been anywhere really. I don't remember SF well, except for the very steep streets and bustle of China Town. I remember I did not enjoy riding BART beneath the bay into town from Oakland or Berkeley. Something about being underwater, trapped and without control in a rapid transit train was not appealing.

I remember the Golden Gate Bridge very well.

It's been 30 years since I saw SF. I'm going back to see it again.

It'll be a quick trip. I'll be driving 8 hours to get there and 8 hours to get back and sharing a hotel room with someone who has helped me out with cat supplies and support when I'm down and out. She lives in Boston and I've never met her. She'll be a vendor at the Summit, pedaling her excellent drop traps.

I can't wait, actually. San Franciso, here I come.

Getting Ready for Winter

I am attempting to get this place as ready for winter as possible. The heat bills here, with the gas furnace, are extreme. It's not insulated. At least wasn't. I have been getting insulation, either used, or now and then, when I have ten bucks, I get a roll at Home Depot and install it. I've got the room off the kitchen now fully insulated, walls and ceiling. I want to insulate the underneath of the house, but that'd be expensive. I do a lot of caulking of open cracks and holes, that sort of thing.

This is the living room area behind a bookcase/entertainment center shelf. I'd not been able to move that heavy shelving to remove the carpet beneath it, when I did remove the carpet from this place about a year and a half ago.

The carpet was extremely old and filthy. The pad beneath the carpet was also filthy and beneath the pad, dirt and even liquid had sifted through and pooled. Also, the wood flooring was blotched, like this flooring is, with black glue or something.

At first I had tried removing all the gunk from the entire floor, intent on restoring the floor, but I couldn't do it. Not financially and not physically, because of neck problems with that sort of action. So I'd painted the floor instead, a beautiful sea blue. I'd never thought of painting a floor.

I had not been able to remove the carpet from beneath this piece of furniture until today. It revealed a gap at floor level, with breeze flowing through. So I used fix-all, to fill the biggest gaps, but I only had a little bit left. I then just blocked the airflow with stick on window/door foam insulation.

I've done a lot of work over the years. I even replaced the toilet, at my own expense, although it was a used toilet from the Habitat store I bought. I love that store.

The old toilet was tottery and took many flushes to actually flush. The innards were worn out and someone at some point had broken the porcelain tank top. The bowl of the toilet also had cracked and so it leaked continually onto and into the bathroom floor. Someone had fashioned a board to sit atop the tank, long before I moved in, but it didn't fit and was moldy.

I also pulled up three layers of vinyl flooring in the bathroom, all of them trapping moisture and mold between them. The floor is rather rotted in places beneath the vinyl flooring I installed, but I can't replace everything. You'd have to tear it all out. But at least there's not the three layers of moldy flooring now.

I replaced the bathroom doorknob. The bathroom doorknob froze once, locking me out of the bathroom. It was really really old and just froze in the locked up position. So I replaced that. I replaced the front doorknob, too, for same reason and installed a deadbolt. I also installed a door peep hole.

My brother and I installed a new outlet in the bedroom a few years ago, because only one outlet in the bedroom worked. We ran an electric line from it under the house to the circuit box, so it would be directly grounded.

I installed a new bathroom faucet and hoses, when I first moved in, because the bathroom faucet was clogged, maybe with silt, something. The hoses up to the hot and cold knobs were too short, so they were leaking. I replaced those.

I replaced a piece of pipe beneath the kitchen sink also, because it leaked under there. It leaked because the pipe had a "Y" I guess once when someone had a dishwasher in here. Instead of capping that, it had been broken off and to stop leakage, a piece of plastic had been stuffed into that short "Y", but it leaked, constantly. So I removed and replaced that piece of pipe and no more leaking.

The screen door was hanging when I moved in and not square. My brother squared it, when he came, just as I was trying to move in and get it HUD passed four years ago. He wasn't happy about me living in such a run down place at that time and was also angry because I was doing so much labor and spending so much money, just before moving in, to make the place functional. He had to square the front door also, because it wouldn't close or lock. HUD attempted to pass it four times. The fifth time was a charm and it passed. But it took a whole lot of work.

So it's been a long haul here. It's not like renting a place really, because I've done so much work here to make it liveable. I have enjoyed fixing it up, although it's been difficult and expensive. I have very little money to work with. It is vastly improved over when I moved in. And I can do my cat thing here and have my cats.  Posted by Picasa

Stupidity on the Umpqua. I get Sucked Under.

I crashed into a rock when on the Umpqua then got sucked underwater today and caught in an undertow. I thought I might not make it out alive. I did.

My innertube is in sad shape and certainly is not whitewater fit. I didn't think there was going to be whitewater on this float and the innertube was all I had.

It doesn't hold air well anymore. One side does, so it is bloated fat, while the rest of it is skinny. Kind of like some people have skinny little legs and a big fat belly. When I sit in it, the low side is almost underwater, while the bulging side was a nice back rest. But this isn't a good set up for rapids.

I found how bad it was about ten minutes into an Umpqua float with my brother, his wife and daughter and their friends.

They had big nice innertubes and some store bought made for floating innertubes.

I had a life jacket along. I was the only one who had a life jacket along. I didn't wear it, because of peer pressure not to wear it. Stupid. Especially given the shape of my innertube.

I wasn't even paying attention. My brother was slightly ahead of me. We were chatting. He'd said it was a flat float. I guess I didn't expect any rapids. And suddenly we were into a rather significant rapid with large waves. The waves were large enough that in the trough, I couldn't see what was coming up next.

When I did emerge, there was my brother stuck churning against a big rock in his big stable innertube. I plowed into him in mine. The low side of my tube went underwater and under the edge of the rock and I got dumped out of it. An undertow then took me down.

I had not gotten a good breath before going under. It all happened so quickly. I couldn't get to the surface and I badly needed air. It was almost like someone was holding me under. I was being drawn between large rocks underwater in strong current, around rocks and a corner.

But I also got caught in a dead zone of sorts. Water pushed me down into it, but didn't move me out of it. In fact, it was quite scarey, to not be moving at all with a crush of water holding me there.

I stuck both arms straight up, trying to feel for the surface, to see if I was even close, because I REALLY NEEDED AIR. I could not break the surface with my arms up. I could see my tube up above me, but could not get up close enough to the surface to make a grab for it.

The water was churning and bubbly. I thought to myself "they'll say on the news 'she was a strong swimmer' and 'she had a life jacket along but was not wearing it'". Then suddenly I was popped to the surface by the current. Just in time, too. I knew it might be temporary and took as deep a breath as I could. I was pulled down again immediately but I was moving underwater this time.

This time I had plenty of air. I can hold my breath a long time. So I wasn't scared anymore. I had my eyes open and could see the rocks coming up. There was a shelf, too, and I didn't want caught under that. I shoved off the shelf with one foot but grabbed ahold of the ledge above it with my hands and found a hand hold. I then manuevered up the side of the rock to the surface and clung to the small ledge, then worked my way down, still in current, to where I could get a place to rest against the rock.

My brother's wife had snagged my tube. I put my life jacket on and recovered, understanding I could easily have been just another Oregon drowning victim, despite being a strong swimmer. That innertube I was using, was completely unsuitable for floating a river with rapids.

I flipped twice more because of my bad innertube, but with my life jacket on, it was no big deal. One can still easily hit their head on a rock, when tousled about in rapids, however. I did scrape up my leg on the second flip, when the low part of the tube hit shallow rocks and again got sucked under flipping me over forward and rolling me on the rocks before I could roll onto my butt, which is well padded.

I envied the nice tubes of the rest of the party after that second dumping.

The third dumping came again in a rapid, but now, well aware of what would happen with that tube, knowing the skinny part would catch water and go under, I just rolled over and around in the water and grabbed the tube and rode it out with one arm through it until slow water.

I have tube rubbed raw arms. They hurt. This comes from sitting in the tube and using my arms to paddle. My inner arms at elbow level would rub the tube constantly. They are raw, literally. This problem was made worse because of the big bubble my tube had. I had that bubble at my back and shoulders, but this made it harder to paddle over it, especially since the front part, that wouldn't inflate well, sinking into the water.

It was fun anyway, despite getting sucked under in the beginning and the two subsequent dumpings and my raw arms. I don't see my brother often. I have two brothers but have not heard from the other one in a year. This is the second time in a year I've seen this brother and it was nice.

He's living under quite a lot of stress. They are remodeling their house, expanding it elaborately, which may go on for another year and in the meantime, they are living in their former garage. This can really cause tension. In addition, he ruptured his achilles tendon and had to have surgery. He was in a caste for quite some time, and now must be very careful and is a bit stiff and slow on it and will be for several more months at least.

I don't travel to their home town at all, due to the bad memories that will be there forever for me. My fathers' actions tainted the area in black for me. I avoid that area completely even though he is now dead.

I was not sure I was going to live in that first dumping into the river, especially before I got delivered to the surface by the current for a breath before being pulled down again.

I was fighting though, by trying to think my way out of it. I didn't want to drown that's for sure. It was like slow motion or something, all these thoughts, when it couldn't have taken more than half a minute. Maybe it was longer. Maybe it was less. I don't know. I didn't panic.

I knew I was supposed to not fight the undertow, but swim with it at an angle to the surface. I was trying to protect my head, too, from getting banged on rocks, with my arms up around it.

It all worked out.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Mohavi and Mona Lisa Move Into Homes and New Lives

Mona Lisa, the scared starving little girl trapped out at Beazall County Park, has already visited a vet and is now in a home. Quite the change for a desperate little girl without hope only two days ago.

Mohavi is also in a home. The same home as Mona Lisa went to.

A very sweet graduate student, whose sister is a vet, had called interested in Hooch. He then became also interested in Tin Can Tizzy, who had found a hiding place. Whenever he would arrive, hoping to see Tin Can, she'd be hiding.

I finally coralled her. And he got to meet this smart little girl. He was impressed actually with her ability to hide. He had brought a cat loving friend with him the second time. It was just after I got home with Mona Lisa in a live trap from the park.

After his friend met Mohavi, she fell in love with him immediately and wanted to adopt Mohavi. I then asked if they wanted to see the kitten I'd just trapped, but warned them she is feral. They fell in love with Mona Lisa. She is gorgeous. There is no denying that.

Mohavi had already been FIV/Felk tested, since he was one of the Slaughterhouse kittens with diarrhea. But these folks wanted Hooch and Tin Can tested and little feral Mona Lisa, who even by yesterday, was fast losing her feral nature in favor of petting, being syringe fed KMR and being cuddled. I mean, what's not to like about an easier life and love?

So yesterday, all three kittens were tested at Corvallis Cat Care. Although Mona Lisa let out blood curdling shrieks when the needle was inserted for a blood sample, she otherwise did very well at her very first trip to a vet.

And afterwards, back here, because the test results would not come back until today from the lab, she seemed to understand that vet visit meant she was cared about. She stared at me wide-eyed, trying to comprehend it all.

I knew all three kittens would be negative. Hooch and Tin Can Tizzy had suffered extreme flea and lice infestations along with starvation before I took them out of Camp Boondoggle. Had they been suffering from an immuno-suppressant virus, like FIV or Felk, they would have died. Same with Mona Lisa.

They were all negative.

Today, Amy came, with Mohavi in tow, who bounced around my bathroom glad to be back temporarily, and took Mona Lisa. She will return to me next Wednesday night, if she's doing ok, and be spayed on Thursday.

Mona Lisa is smiling tonight. Mohavi is, too. Hooch and Tin Can Tizzy will be leaving tomorrow.

I'll still have CattyHopper, as I've named the Slaughterhouse gray tux bobtail female kitten, and Mohavi's sister, the gray tabby "Gobi". I still have the sleek smart sweet medium hair black male Apache, a Boondoggie.

Three kittens left, of the Boondoggies, of the Maxine Street Eight, of the Slaughterhouse colony and now of Beazall park. Three kittens of countless kittens who have been through my doors this summer. I am happy for them. Happy for them all.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Justice for Jon Benet and Her Parents

News of the arrest of a pedophile in the murder of Jon Benet felt like relief to me, mainly for the parents. I know her mother is dead. I cannot imagine the horror she went through, of not only losing her child, but of being accused of killing her, crucified in unfounded attacks and speculations. How could one live on?

I can't agree with the way she treated that child, pushing her into beauty pagents at such a tender age, like some little play doll she was living vicariously through. What possesses mothers to do such things? Jon Benet was a child, for gosh sakes.

But most families are dysfunctional, I think. I've not met a "normal" family.

The look of the man arrested is a look of a sick self-centered person, in my opinion.

I hope the Benet family gets heartfelt apologies from the news rags and people who crucified parents in mourning. There is nothing worse, in my opinion, than unfounded accusations against parents, when a child has died. It happens rather frequently. We should all think first how we might feel and wait for explicit founded evidence before forming opinions and voicing them publicly.

My heart goes out to the Benet family, out there somewhere. The mother is dead. Wherever she is out there, I wonder if she knows an arrest has been made.

Sometimes I wish I could comfort people, like that mother, whose child died so violently, whose life was ruined by rumor and gossip and cruelness. Death took her mercifully away from human cruelty. I say that, but she probably didn't want to die and death is rarely merciful. I say that only to appease my own feelings about it all.

Update: From all the reports, sounds like the guy arrested may just be a person claiming to be the murderer to seek attention to himself. The grinning circus scene parade of suspect in Thailand, where the government seems to condone child prostitution and sex tourism, was hard to watch. The agony of the Jon Benet saga continues.....

The Desert Kittens

Gobi, Mohavi's sister, of the Slaughterhouse colony, spayed yesterday. Posted by Picasa

Fixing Foster Kittens--7 Yesterday

Yesterday, seven foster kittens were fixed. Two were males from Salem, trapped behind a state building and home ready. I forgot to take their photos to add to my petfinder site. Chris is fostering them and they are gorgeous.

A Jefferson black manx female kitten was fixed. Also, Gobi, Mohavi's sister, of the Slaughterhouse colony was spayed yesterday.

Three of the kittens fixed were former Camp Boondoggies, who have been fostered in Lebanon. This photo is of the black tux female, one of three siblings fixed. They were Mittens kittens.

Mittens was the gray tux female homeless camper Rita owned. I had also fixed Mittens but Rita wanted her back. Rita then moved in with a couple of Scio guys, getting free roam and board in exchange for cooking and cleaning.

But, she left messages a week ago, that she wanted me to take her cats to board, not place, because it wasn't working out in Scio, and that she'd spent all her SSI money already for the month.

It was the 8th of August when she called. How did she spend all that money, close to $600, in that short of time? She'd spent a partial check the month before in three days in Albany, buying beer for a whole lot of people.

I don't know what happened after she left those messages. I wonder what happened to Gizmo and Mittens, her two females. I got them both spayed. When I'd gone out to see Rita at her new place, the cats were thrilled to see me.

I fear for their fates and I'm kind of 'not happy' with Rita. In the messages, she implied she would be leaving that house for the streets of Albany as a matter of choice. Posted by Picasa


Apache, Hooch and Tin Can's brother. He's still on the shy side and I need to do some intensive work with him so he'll have a chance at a real home. Posted by Picasa

Sleepy Hooch, formerly of Camp Boondoggle. He might get a home today. And, his sister, Tin Can Tizzy, might go with him to that home. I am keeping my fingers crossed because it's a very nice graduate student interested in him and the man's sister is a vet. Posted by Picasa

Mona Lisa Smiles

Mona Lisa--dilute torbi kitten from Beazall County Park.

She had very little to smile about up until a day ago. When she got into my trap, she was a desperate little girl---alone, starving and dehyrdrated.

The Beazall County park caretakers are friends of mine. They e-mailed me two weeks ago, saying there was a mother cat with kittens out there, but that they would be leaving the next morning.

I thought they'd be gone only a couple of days. They won't feed the cats because they like the birds. Well, they ended up gone for two weeks and I didn't know then that they were not feeding them. I had agreed to trap and remove them so I figured and had asked that they feed them in the meantime.

I was overwhelmed here at the time with the diarrhea kittens in my bathroom.

Well, this little girl, who ran up the driveway and into their shed, then into a trap in the shed, is perhaps the only survivor. There were three kittens and a mother, apparently who had been dumped. The mother and two of the kittens apparently have died, either of starvation or predators got them.

This kitten was suffering from extreme starvation and dehydration. Posted by Picasa

Couch cats. Three of my own cats take over the loveseat. Miss Daisy is on the left. Hopi is in the cat bed on the right and Old Scully is perched up top. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 14, 2006

Taylor Gets His Home and The Others in the Wings

Taylor went to a home today. A man stopped by after seeing my road sign. Good luck, little guy. Taylor had taken to kneading and sucking on my face nights while purring his head off happy as a clam. Would have made an interesting video.

Taylor was the last of the Maxine Street cats to be placed. I had removed 8 kittens and four adults from that house on the corner, when the local animal control officer asked me to "assess" a feral cat situation. None of the cats were truely feral. I was put off by the officer's trickery. He knows I don't trap cats to haul them to Heartland to be euthanzied and yet that is exactly what he had in mind. He also persisted after I told him why I don't trap for the killing of cats for human convenience and that I felt tricked by him into involvement in this situation. I finally e-mailed the City Manager, described what happened and asked that whomever was in charge of this man, that this officer be told clearly not to contact me again about helping him solve cat issues by trapping them for killing.

That was over a month ago and I never heard anything back. Until yesterday.

I get an e-mail from a Corvallis police officer regarding "citizen complaint against ACO (animal control officer)". He gave me a number to call to talk to him, but the extension given with the number didn't work. So I e-mailed the officer back, told him it was not a complaint, but a request, that I don't want this animal control officer calling me. I told him "what's done is done and I don't regret saving those cats lives". I told him I can't save them all however, so as a volunteer, I limit my efforts to those I can save, otherwise I couldn't do this.

I told him I figured, but didn't know for sure, not being a mind reader, that this officer persisted, in phone messages, trying to get me to go back there and trap any remaining cats and take them to Heartland, after I told him I don't do that kind of trapping several times, because he might have felt that I have low enough self-esteem that he could, with pressure, get me to do something I felt was wrong.

And so far I haven't heard anything back again.

But all the cats of that day, that day that began with the ACO's call, the day I woke up exhausted because I was then involved heavily involved in rescueing the Boondoggle cats, are now in homes. The adults had to settle for a barn home. Better than being dead, that's for sure.

I have six kittens left for adoption. Mohavi--Slaughterhouse colony black tabby male; his sister Gobi--silver tabby female; and the gray tux manx Gogo, not yet big enough for neuter. I also have the three older Boondoggle kittens Hooch, brown tabby male, Tin Can Tizzy, abby tabby female, and Apache, black medium hair.

As for adults, I have the very funny two year old gray tux medium hair Gracie. And I have the young female Abysinnian mix Abbysue.

I'd love to adopt out Old Sal, but finding homes for really ancient cats can be difficult. I would still love to find Comet a home and I haven't given up because I'd pretty much given up on Calamity Jane and then suddenly, she gets a home.

So, basically, I have six kittens and four adults home ready and anxious for homes. I just have to hook them up with the right people. I know they're out there. I just must find them.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Cheap Ad Pays Off for Shortstop and Sahari

First and last photos: Shortstop. Middle photo: Sahari
I just adopted out two kittens as a result of the cheap ad running up north of Corvallis. Yahoo! I met the family in Rickreal. They were going to only adopt one kitten. They already have a spayed indoor only female. But they, under pressure from their two kids, decided on two. I told them they need to do what is right for them. In other words, I never try to push cats on people. But they took Shortstop and his sister Sahari--two of the Slaughterhouse kittens--the Kittens Without Hope. Yeah right---without hope. They got well, in part, thanks to my very kind and smart vet, Dr. Blouin. And three of the six are already in homes.

So far, that cheap ad has paid off big time, in comparison to the more expensive ad in the larger circulation paper. I will be keeping track, because it is a learning experience in marketing.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Adoptable Cat Marketing. Big Ideas for Finding Them Homes.

I have too many rescued cats and kittens. Too many, I say. Way too many. I've been trying everything I can think of to find them homes. I've got not much of a budget. So I was weighing advertising costs against the costs of possibly having them here forever. That made advertising seem much cheaper.

But, advertising in the local paper last week with the one free ad granted per month produced only two calls. One resulted in an adoption. The other call was a crank caller. I did adopt out a second kitten yesterday. Thank you God in Heaven, if you're there. If not, well Yay anyway! One more got a home.

That adoptor called because I'd asked another person attempting to adopt out kittens in town, to refer any overflow calls. She had only one kitten to find a home and she did that in the first call. So she referred the next callers to my number. An Albany lady got referred. I remembered her. She'd called last fall, wanting a free fixed kitten, wanting me to deliver it sight unseen because she had no car, and I just told her that all the kittens had died suddenly.

But this time, I told her I remembered her, and said "That was last fall. You must have gotten a kitten by now. Why are you wanting more?"

I'd also been warned by some homeless folk out of Camp Boondoggle about this woman, that she's a collector.

Well, to make a long story short, I'll be getting at least one of her unfixed cats fixed Tuesday, through POPPA. She claims her neighbor has 17 cats, three of them unfixed, all three of the unfixed cats being females, one with a litter of seven.

I asked this woman to please get me her neighbor's number, because I'm getting really tired out doing all this and maybe I'll be dropping dead really soon, so I better get all those cats right there, in that two house cat mess, fixed before I drop dead of dealing with all this. So she said "ok" but that doesn't mean she'll do it.

Isn't that something, being called by a collector who wants more kittens. I'm not convinced she's getting kittens because she likes cats. She also called another person a couple months ago who had two rescued cats up for adoption. I bet she calls every free kitten and cat ad. What becomes of the cats she takes in from kitten and cat ads? Nothing good is my bet. This kind of shit can keep a person up nights.

I need to take up drinking, or rather, I need to drink more often and up the volume. Alcohol consumption will go so well, I think, with the intermittant low level CO in this place.

(On the CO problem, I may have a way to keep the danger down from that for now. I think I'm going to be running a fan backwards in the kitchen window to suck through and out bad CO air that might be coming in on certain days in certain conditions from next door's car revving).

So here's what I'm coming up with, for marketing cute little rescued kittens and cats.

Well I did place two ads, one in the Eugene paper, which has a wider readership but is rather distant I would assume, if people are looking to adopt a cat or kitten.

Adopting a cat or kitten is usually more of an urgent need with people. They don't want to wait once the decision is made. They just can't wait. If they call one ad, and nobody is home, they immediately call the next. If they find a kitten next door or two blocks down, they're not going to come up and look at kittens in Corvallis.

So my feeling is that won't be real useful. I also placed an ad in a small town paper to the north, because it was cheap, real cheap, and because they don't have a local shelter or rescue. So far, I've had two calls, both from Eugene, both looking for a specific type of kitten I don't have.

I made car magnets and am giving them out to anyone who will slap it on the rear of their car. They feature the faces of kittens and cats I have for adoption and my phone number. No calls have resulted. I thought about sneaking up behind a city bus or cop cars or taxis and slapping my kitten car magnets on those highly visible vehicles. It's probably illegal. And with my phone number right on the magnets, it might not be a wise marketing move.

Stunts. I thought about a big stupid stunt, that would draw media attention inadvertantly to my rescued cats and kittens. Hmmmmm. Have not come up with a suitable stupid stunt yet, but I'm good at those things and I have no doubt I will think of one.

I thought about digging over in the woods again, on the south side of HIghway 34, across from Trysting Tee Golf Course. I found a whole lot of golf balls over there, when I was trapping in the woods to the west of the pond. I could clean them up and write my petfinder site on them with black marker then give them away in a promotion.

There's always streaking. That sure gets attention in Corvallis. I could put kitten photos in strategic bodily locations, so I'd be technically not naked. I told a very funny Albany couple about this idea and mentioned I'd probably end up with sex offender status.

"Oh no you wouldn't," said the Albany lady. She'd know. She'd mooned an animal abuser they had the misfortune of living next to on the coast. He then called the cops. The cops told him as long as the "mooner" or "streaker" is not sexually aroused when mooning or streaking it's not considered a sexual act. It is considered public indecency, however, if the behavior is not conducted on your own property. She was certainly not aroused sexually by an animal abuser and was on her own property, so the cops told the guy "don't call us again." This is a very cool couple.

Captive audiences. I need to follow the news crews, to, I don't know, events, protests, crime and accident scenes. I'd just be someone in the crowd. But I'd be someone in the crowd waving an ADOPT MY RESCUED KITTEN sign.

Going to church wearing a T-shirt featuring my petfinder site in loud letters--another captive audience opportunity. Same with going to concerts, fairs and bars, although drunks don't remember much.

I thought about putting a bit of sticky stuff on small Kitten fliers and putting them on the ground where people walk. They'd get them stuck to the bottoms of their shoes.

Someone would say "Hey, you have something stuck to the bottom of your shoe." The person would bend down to pull it off, then look and think "Oh, look. It's a kitten flier with a cute little homeless kittens' picture. I think I'll adopt this kitten."

Well anyhow......I'm banking on football season which is right around the corner. Football season means heavy drinking, at least around here. Heavy drinking means cans to pick up and turn in to pay off rescued kitten advertising credit card bills.

So, you college students out there and football fans, drink up and then drop that beer can. I'll be right behind you.


My attempts to find anyone to do anything with so far have failed. Two days ago, I asked M if she wanted to go to a movie and she said, "Let's do it." M lives in Albany with her sister. So today I call her. I got her sister. Her sister said M took her niece to the movie last night that I thought we had plans to see today.

This is the way it's always been with M, however. I need to move on and understand she is that way and won't be changing. I need to cross her off my list and keep her name crossed off.

So I try N. N has been abusive to me on many many occasions. She used to call up just to complain about the cat she adopted from me. Over and over and over, she'd do this, until I couldn't take it and would tell her to either treat the cat as I had suggested or I would be over and pick her up. then she would back off, until she would call me about something else and she would sense that I'd forgiven and forgotten. But usually, she would not be able to resist and once we'd had a few minutes of friendly conversation, she'd start in again about the cat and we'd ahve it out again. I talked to her partner about the problem. He said she was going nuts and to block her number, if need be. And so I screened my calls. But then she started leaving messages about wanting to borrow a trap, etc.

I know I should not have tried asking her to do something. But who the hell else do I have to try? I was desperate and desperation brings with it memory lapse.

She came by today and took a trap out of my yard when I wasn't here and plans to loan it out, she told me on the phone, and I don't know when I'll see it again. It's unbelievable. If I went and took something of hers and then loaned it out to someone, without telling her, she'd be calling the cops. I finally got ahold of her later to clarify what she could and could not do with that trap and when I wanted it back. She seemed clear on it after the conversation, or so I think.

But when I'd told her I was lonely and needed some fun and human contact, she lit into me about her own life, how awful it is, how she never has time even to sleep. I pointed out her many recent vacations, and she lit in again, like on a mission, to be sure I understand those trips are just to catch up on sleep and about how she can't wait until she gets out of Corvallis forever because she hates it here--the weather mainly. I tried just one last time, by saying "well if you're so stressed, maybe an hour or two of fun would....." but she cut me off in a very disturbing fashion. Same old.

Her main job is easy and pays well. Her partner says she has it too easy, too good, has too much money, so she tries to dramatize everything and don't believe anything she says. So I don't.

What I do know is I need to stay away from her. She won't change either. And there will be nothing good or fun or meaningful in time spent around her. So lose that delusion, I tell myself, and I'll be better off.

But my list of even distant acquaintances in this town is short. Most people I've known in this town are dead or long gone out of town or criminals or crazy. It's hard to even come up with the name of anybody to ask who might want to do something. Anything.

So I was looking through my list of people I've helped with cats, hoping to spot a name, someone, anyone, who might want to do something. But if you're helping someone fix a bunch of cats they haven't fixed, there's often something wrong there to begin with. Aaaaaarrrrggghhh!

In a world chock full of people, in a supposedly friendly town like Corvallis, how does one connect with anyone?

Shall I hang out at a bar and maybe meet some nice alcoholics? Maybe I should attend church, even though I'm a nonbeliever? I could just feign belief, you know, pretend, sit in the pews with a holy glaze to my eyes, and....ah fuck it. I am not good at pretending.

I guess it's just me again. Me and the cats on a Saturday night.

"It's Saturday night...and I ain't got nobody.....got some money cause I just got paid.....how I wish I had someone to talk to......I'm in an awful way.....tadatada...."