Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Awesome Cat House Completed!

Some time ago, when I was at the Habitat Store for something, I saw an odd looking piece of old furniture they were selling.   A sign on it said "$5.  Would Make a Good Livestock Feeder".  I suppose they figured that because it had six cubby holes, each about 14" across and 18" deep.  and each contained a shelf with a backwards slanted shelf.  "That would make a fine cat house,"    I thought to myself, but I knew it would take a lot of work.  The price was right and the wood it was made of was good and solid.

I hauled it home in the back of my car and took it apart by banging off the top first with a hammer.  I removed the two 2x4"s from the bottom, on which it balanced, then proceeded to remove the slanted shelf supports and pound them level.  Some of the shelves I removed.  Then I left the project and unfortunately, left the boards out and the rains came.

Finally I got back to it, and brought the boards into the garage to dry out, painted them a couple coats with the paint from the back of the abandoned truck, behad by me several months back, when my tow company friends said I could have all those rusted out paint cans from the truck.  To my delight.

Then I cut a slant to the top and leveled all the shelf supports, added back the shelves, cut holes here and there, painted some more, added front boards to shield cats using the cubby holes, from weather, added an upper level access shelf, an upper level porch type escape, entrance hole, and a lower level one also, and used the last bits and pieces of heavy plastic carpet runner shingle style to protect the sloped roof from rain.

Here it is finished in my garage.  No straw inside yet.  Each cubby hole bottom is lined in 1 inch foam insulation. Back and top have reflective insulation.  The cats can traverse from one cubby hole sideways to the others on that level through holes, too.

I had only some old carpet runner plastic to shingle on to protect the roof.

This is the front, showing the entrances for the six cubby holes on the two levels.  I added a shelf for access to the second level holes.

Lower level escape hatch hole, with half a plant pot for a cover.

Upper level porch escape, entrance hole.
I took it over to the Lebanon colony, where all the sick kittens had come from, placed it in the man's backyard, and stuffed the cubby holes with straw.   Within a couple hours, some of the cats surrounded it, curious.   I saw them when I drove back by, just before dark.

Around the corner from that colony, where over a year and a half, I got over 30 cats fixed, and five sick kittens out of there, to a Portland rescue, an older couple feeds strays.  I've never been able to talk to them, to make sure the cats are all fixed.  I figured most must be, since I got so many fixed around the corner from there, and another 20 fixed around the corner the other way, at the Kitten Production colony, where I also removed, early last summer, another 24 kittens out to other rescues and shelters.  This house is inbetween the two other now all fixed colonies.  Yesterday, I spotted two cats near this inbetween house, and took photos.  Both cats had ear tips and the Maine Coon male is one I took to be fixed last summer.  I hope all the cats in that area are now fixed.  It was quite an accomplishment, quite an effort in just those three Lebanon blocks, but it sure made a difference, to the people living in the area, to the colony feeders and of course to the cats.
 Show me that right ear tip!  And he did.  
Took only sound, a short whistle, to get the cat to turn, so I could take a photo to be sure he is fixed.  I didn't have binocs along and my eyes are not totally good all the time in catching that ear tip in an instant.  Far better to take a photo for checking.

And this guy too, sports that tell tale right ear tip, so helpful to show a cat is fixed.

Once I got to it, building this cat house took only a couple of days and that was mostly waiting for paint to dry and scrounging through the garage for used screws and this or that to use on it.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Photos on Dreary Gray Oregon Sunday

Homemade weatherization for the under eaves window box entrances.  It's getting cold sometimes.  I had to rig something!

Calamity likes to sleep in the carrier above the exclusion room.  She sure would like a home of her own, but would need a patient home, no dogs and at least one other cat, preferably a friend from here.

Miss Daisy, the ultimate cush cat, likes to sleep on pillows.  She loves her comfort!  Starry is one of her best friends.

Electra is showing her age, and sleeping more and more.  She took a tumble ten days ago off the cat run, six feet to ground.  I only caught the tumble from peripheal vision, seeing her land awkwardly on her side.  She acted strange for five days after that, holding her tail funny and walking with a curvature to her back that worried me to death.  She seemed swollen and to breath funny, but soon was back to normal.  She's an old cat and a fall, any fall, can prove fatal to the elderly.

The Albany business cats still hang out together as a family when they sleep.  They love the diaper changing station beds.  I found that at a thrift store several years ago, and am looking for another.  Here, eight of the nine Albany business cats nap.  Top:  Alexi and Stiletto, on the left while Sassy sleeps on the top right.  Next level down:  Cougie, Raindrop, Tilly and Rogue.  But behind Rogue and you can only see the top of her head, is Haley.  The only business cat not in the pile is Misty.  Family matters, to cats.

Sam, looking stately.  I can't believe Sam is at least 8 years old now.

Teddy, formerly of the Corvallis homeless camp, likes to clown.

Teddy, atop the exclusion room, turns to watch Echo, one of the Quirky sisters, and Shady, of the BS colony.

Tugs, the torti, with Slurpy the other torti.

I took mushroom photos yesterday.  I wanted to see if any of the yard shrooms were edible.  I never did ID these, growing on the old Cottonwood stump.

But I was able to ID these, growing everywhere in the backyard and they are poisonous.  They cause severe gastro intestinal distress.

I have not yet solved the water heater problem, but it's no big deal since there is plenty of hot water for a quick shower.  I've never been one to take long showers, being the extreme penny pincher I am.  I'm afraid I'll go nuts with the hot water if I get a water heater that allows a leisurely shower with plenty of hot water.  But would that not be nice, to come in, after being out in the rain and cold, and warm up with a nice hot shower of decent length?   Ah yes, but spendy!

Fixing the water issues from the down spout underground drainage line damage has been a big fat fail.  The corrugated pipe leaks like crazy and water pools badly by the house from its leakage.  However, it's just as bad in the underground damaged pipe, I just don't have to see the pooling, because it's going under the house and washing out the foundation wall.  So this is a slight improvement for the house at least and I keep at it. I'd buy PVC pipe to contain the water but I can't afford 52 feet of PVC and the connectors that would be required since my  car is very short and I can't carry long lengths of pipe.

The problem is not limited to that side.  On the north side of the house, the gutter water dumps down the downspouts into underground crap plastic pipe to a shared, by the old man neighbor, underground drain pipe to the street.  He hasn't cleaned his gutters in decades nor does he maintain anything, so that pipe is badly clogged and unfortunately, runs under my driveway.  His constantly clogged down spouts, result in massive water drainage into his lawn, which is likely the cause of my own driveway settling and sinking in places.  You got to manage the water or there's a price to pay.  Not a thing I can do about most of this.  I don't blame him for letting it all go to hell.   He eats out every meal and spends all his time at restaurants chatting with his old man friends.  He comes home and puts his big screen TV on the highest volume then dozes off with a few beers.  I'll hear him get up in the night and yell, drunkenly sounds like, at his cats, if they want in or out too much.  They basically eat at my place.  I keep them flea treated so they don't pass fleas to my cats through the cat yard fence.  The old man is mid 80's.  He can do what he wants now.  And he does. As he should.  Nobody should tell an old person how to live their life.  That's nuts!

My one brother is off on a vacation with his family.  Kids are all grown, but they got two of them along.  Must be hard to raise kids then off they go.  I don't know, maybe they're relieved to finally have an empty nest.  I don't know my nieces and nephew really.  I wasn't around them when they were growing up.  

I fixed my old computer.  I'm on it now.  How do you like that?  I undertook the task as a learning experience never dreaming I could actually do it.  There were polluted corrupt programs and a media player on it, that, after the process of elimination from safe mode, and their removal, allowed me back my old computer.  So now I use both.  I feel absurdly rich!  I store music on one and photos on the other, so as not to overload either.  Plus I have some games on this one I like to play.  Yes, I like video games too.  I like almost everything.

I slowed down on reading.  Finding decent books was the issue.  But I'm back to it.  I love reading.  The most recent finish was The Dive from Clausen's Pier, by Ann Packard.  It was a slow start book, that I put down over and over, but in the end, I loved it.  It was about life is all, growing up, and a young woman who began to outgrow a group of high school and college friends, including a best friend and a fiancee who makes a dive from Clausen's Pier into shallow water, breaking his neck.  In the weeks before that fateful day, the woman focus of the story, (have forgotten names now) was having trouble in her relationship with her boyfriend since high school.  After he broke his neck, sending him into a coma and stealing his ability to walk once he came out of it, she didn't know what to do.  Guilt made her stay with him at his bedside.  His family and her friends guilt tripped her also until one day she just loaded her car and took off for a new life in New  York City. 
 There she fell in love with a mysterious man who lived frugally, talked little about himself, drank too much and turned out to be 40 years old.  He had issues too, which he would not discuss.  Later on, after she went back to Madison to visit her best friend, with whom she's fallen out with, over the months since the accident, he revealed to her that his brother had died young after a long battle with leukemia.  His brother's name was Mike, like her Mike, now in a wheelchair.  

She never returned to New York, after she left to try to patch things up with her childhood best friend, whose sister had been beaten up and whose mother had attempted suicide and been committed.  She stayed in Madison, in the end, and began helping with Mike's care, and re-establishing old friendships and routines.  The book was about the unexpected twists and turns of life, some harsh, some beautiful, the sadness that can haunt everyone, from life's twists, no matter where they live or what their upbringing.  A person can count on only a few sureties   Family and friends, a sense of community and place, these are rocks in the upheaving landscape of life.

Life is tough here lately only in that I am bored silly and very alone.  The cat wrangling has ground to an extremely slow pace.  Price of gas and scarcity of clinic space is the reason.  And soon, very soon now, I won't be able to do any cat wrangling at all, when Poppa Inc. closes down, first of next summer.  I am contemplating what I can do now with my life.  I must find something.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Nine Local Cats Fixed Yesterday in Trip to S/nipped

I finally got to do some cat wrangling.  Not so easy to arrange trips now, with gas so high.  I had 15 cats lined up to make the trip, all tame, but people only showed up with nine of them.   I was disappointed but nine more fixed is a big victory once again for mid valley cats.

Durnig the day down at the clinic, I cleaned some of the stuff out of one of their back sheds.  Bags of items stored for another group, for their garage sale, that had never been picked up and by now were getting wet from a roof leak and because the shed door partially broke, letting rain be blown inside.  Also, mice had made their way in, and were nesting in some of the bags.  But some of the things were not touched by moisture or mice and so I took those to a thrift store, threw a bunch of stuff out, but didn't get it by any means all cleaned out.  Halfway home, I began having severe back pains and realized I had pulled some muscle.  I knew when I'd done it. carrying out a box to go to a thrift store, that was both heavy and awkward, felt something "give" when trying to get it between cars out to my car.  Last night, was quite painful if I moved the wrong way, but it's much better this morning.

The great thing is I found a sink in that shed, unwanted, and was allowed to bring it home.  I will make a litter box of it for nonabsorbable litter.  It already has a drain and the slope!

The pain though not fun didn't affect me badly last night.  I was so happy, being able to get out of town, round up cats again, see some people, just really made me happy.

Two of the cats hailed from Benton County.  There was this handsome Siamese mix male from south Corvallis, dubbed Mr. Blue Eyes!

Mr. Blue Eyes napping after surgery.
There was this prolific calico, Peaches, from the Lewisburg area, whose kittens routinely ended up at Heartland.  No more.
Peaches the calico, now spayed!

A stray male, probably dumped, was fixed from Lebanon.  The woman lives on a rural road and he just showed up.  He's friendly and wonderful so likely got dumped.  His name is now Sam.
The very handsome and sweet Sam.  Why anyone would dump such a sweet boy is beyond belief.
Then a Lebanon friend had gotten someones mom cat fixed awhile back, helping her out.  But the cat had had three skinny kittens.  Finally one was big enough and well enough to be fixed.  She is delightful!
Cutie, a wonderful laid back white girl kitten, spayed yesterday.
The other five cats fixed all came from Albany, two from the same household.  These folks originally called me hoping I would take in a torti, they found over on highway 34 by the gas stations near I5.  But in the end, their own two unfixed cats made the trip to be fixed.  A little girl kitten and a big boy.
Fatboy, Albany big boy fixed yesterday.

Cali, Fatboy's roommate, a little calico, also fixed yesterday.

A stray Albany teenage male, who showed up starved to death in someones back yard, was also fixed yesterday.
Charlie, the stray Albany teen, fixed yesterday.
And Vendetta's last two boys were fixed.  Been a long haul getting all the cats fixed there, including saving Solo, the black kitten eating from a dumpster next to this house.  But fixed they all are now, and most are actually in homes.  Yesterday, their last two kittens, Blackie and Tiger, were fixed.
Blackie, Albany male kitten fixed yesterday.

Tiger, brown tabby male kitten fixed yesterday.
I stopped by the Elk place on the way back, to change Peaches' paper.  She had pooped.  And while there, an Elk crossed in front of my car, then sauntered down the sidewalk.  And in the field--a coyote came for a drink from the wetlands, then ran across the field, laid down for awhile in the middle of the field, seemed to be waiting for a friend who was late or a no show, and finally wandered off.

I was very fortunate to get enough gas contributions to make this trip for the cats.  But I like getting out of town now and then also.  I don't go anywhere now unless I can round up the gas money to take a load of cats to be fixed.  Gas is just too expensive.  Can drive a person a bit stir crazy to be at home all the time.  I get by.  These are hard times and the people I run into with unfixed cats are barely making it if making it at all.

My brother bought me lunch down with the cats yesterday.  We were talking about how the industrial revolution affected humans by removing so many jobs to automation, and as we "progress" that number of jobs lost to mechanization only continues to climb.  Industrialization and mechanization are under rated factors in global recession.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

More Cats More Cats More of My Cats

Starry, from a N. Albany swamp, with her friend Slurpy, from the Lebanon Save the Kittens Colony, behind her.  Way behind, a sleeping Miss Daisy.

Peeman Sam, originally abandoned, along with over a dozen others, in Millersburg.

The athletic Sam again.

Cougie, one of the Albany business cats, dozing upright.

Comet of Heatherdale.  He's been with me a very long time, ever since my first encounter with Heatherdale trailer park in Albany.  About 16 kittens were in one carport alone.  Comet was one of them, and the only one I did not find a home for before my back completely failed.  In the end, I could not carry traps, or walk, and little kids would carry cats in traps back to my car there.  Have now, over the years since, taken in over 120 cats to be fixed from that Albany trailer park alone.

Poppy!  She's been with me almost seven years now, was born under an apartment complex on 34th street.  I found her mom a home and returned her two sisters, and I don't think they had very good fates, (the ones I returned).

Shaulin, from the Albany Bengal breeder man colony.  The man, an AAAAAA type personality, also highly irresponsible and a scientist, got unfixed bengals, let them breed, intermingle with strays, and breed more and over run the hood, time and time again, without apology.  He would not participate in catching the cats to be fixed.  Have been back three times, and his outrageous and cruel behavior continues. Shaulin once went to a home.  They described themselves as Abbysinnian loving cat whisperers.  Only they wanted me to take her back the very next day.  Back she came and was relieved to be back.

Teddy, from the Corvallis homeless camp.  His sister, Starr, is also here, and so is Honey, from the same camp, where, over a summer, I trapped and got fixed 52 cats from that one camp.  Poppa Inc.'s president came down to help at one point.  I had poison oak all summer from going in and out of there.  Over 35 of the cats and kittens were not returned.

Tugs, originally from the Lebanon Shovel Killer Christian neighbor colony.  An old woman, feeding strays, wrote the Corvallis Gazette Times about being harrassed by neighbors about feeding the strays, and yet more and more people left cats behind when they'd move and what were they to do then.  One neighbor, a Christian, who plays in a Christian band, offered to kill them with a shovel.  I was just going to get them fixed for her, after the GT editor asked if I could help her out, but I took all 12 after meeting the asshole neighbors and the strange strange landlord, who would change her name and tell the tenants to start calling her an entirely different name.  The old woman's water system didn't even work and she'd have to use a bucket to flush the toilet  She has died now.  Tugs and her sister Mums never got homes of those 12.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Photos Galore!

The water heater has not been giving up much hot water lately.  So I embarked upon a DIY fix it project.  Decided against replacing elements, as the water heater is a 1994 model and I doubt I could even find replacement elements.

So I decided just to flush the thing out good.  So I did, over and over, filling partially draining, etc. etc.

Half through flushing the thing,  I checked the water coming out of it (on the right) against clean water (on the left).  Was still mud puddle color and very unappetizing, to think I have been bathing in it and sometimes drinking that yuk!

Zeva, a cat I got fixed, but who lives on the next block, likes to hang out on the cat yard fence.

Fence Walker!

Albany female kitten fixed yesterday at Heartland.

Lebanon adult female who was fixed yesterday at Heartland along with three of her kittens.  All her kittens were black--one girl and two boys.

One of the three black Lebanon kittens fixed yesterday at Heartland.

I have several tortis here including Tugs.

And Starry!

Starry again!
Calamity, sleeping here in my trap bed, is a muted torti.

And Poppy, yet another torti here!

Miss Daisy likes her comforter.  Miss Daisy is one of my two Muted Calicos.  Some people call them Dilute Calicos.
Miss Daisy had to be the first to try out my new litter box, filled with non absorbable litter (rubber mulch).  Beneath the litter box, is a funnel, inserted into an oil collection tank.  Only it's not oil its collecting!

Sunrise yesterday!