Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Little Scion That Could

The OC (Original Catmobile) with empty traps after returning fixed cats.

Cat loaded OC

My Scion has been the best car ever!   I once carried 27 cats in it to an FCCO clinic in traps and carriers.  It has hauled over 10,000 cats to be fixed or to new homes.

I've used it like a truck, like an off road vehicle.  I've gone through snow, mud and even high water that should have drowned and floated it.

I've slept in it, camped in it, cooked in it.

It has 280,000k official miles.  That's what the odometer says anyhow.  The odometer quit for some reason, for about year, back around the 240,000 mile mark.  I figured mid life crisis.   At some point I noticed it had started rolling over again.   So I don't know the exact number of miles on the car.

It stinks.  Too many male cats hauled, who peed in the trap while I drove.   The smell will never leave I doubt.

Mechanics complain.  So do tire stores.  The worst was Les Schwab in Corvallis.   I swore I'd never go back to a Schwab after that.  But other Schwab stores have been good to me.

For over a month the car has been reluctant when I push on the gas, hesitating, jerking and clunking.  Yesterday it was very very bad.  I wondered if I would get home.

I'd had a bad day.

I was told all the Waterloo cats up at the Lebanon relocation property were all still contained, as they should be at just over a week now, since they were retrapped.  Alley Cat Allies recommends a month in relocation confinement, in a comfy cage big enough so the confinement period is not horrible.  The cages four were in were awful!    I was going to set them up in a proper comfortable cage.  I bought an outside dog kennel.  6x8x4.  I then spent hours building shelves and finding other things around the house to add as amenities and loaded the car to overflowing, tired already, and headed up there.  It began to hail as I arrived.  Then snow, but the flakes were splatting wet.

The car had been lurching if I accelerated the entire trip up.

No power loss however.

I get up there and find the woman has already released four of the cats.  I was heartbroken, especially when the guy up there (the woman is on vacation) said she'd released them 3 days ago.  That meant India and Sonar had less than a week in relocation.   She knew better.  I sat in my car, hail pounding loudly on its roof, and cried.

I thought I should take back the other two, still in my cages, Autumn and Gracie, but my car was too overloaded.

I had texted the woman set up to feed the Waterloo cats remaining in the park.  She texted back she hadn't fed since Sunday, since her husband is in the hospital with pneumonia.   I went to feed them too.  And cried again, worn out, and sad for them too.  I saw no cats.

It was on the way home the car really began bucking, any time I touched the gas.

I don't know what's wrong.  Fuel filter?  Fuel pump?  Clogged injectors?   Throttle position switch or whatever?  Yes, I've been on youtube, trying to get answers.  Guess its really common and there are like a zillion things that it could be.   But its probably fuel line or transmission related.  Any impediment in the fuel in or exhaust out can cause the problem.  There are so many add on valves and things now. Maybe the transaxal joints are failing?   Who knows. I know the belt or one pulley is screeching too.  Related?  I don't know.

It can be very depressing to live where I live.  There is no one to help with anything.  There is no sharing among animal groups or eager volunters or any resources really.  I have trouble getting even a couple bags of cat food donated.  Yesterday, the weight of solving so many cat problems alone, without resources and now possibly a failing car, hit me like wet concrete.

I made it to Heartland this morning just fine with Gorgeous, the long hair torbi, Mack, the mackeral tabby male, and Conrad.  All from the 34Colony.  Gorgeous and Mack will be fixed, while Conrad will be tested and chipped to Felines First Rescue.  When they have room for him, he'll go there.  He's laid back and tame.  She doesn't know how he ended up on the property.  Dumped maybe?  Or dumped nearby.

This is Conrad, getting tested and chipped today.

Gorgeous is getting fixed.

Mack is getting neutered, too today.

After much deliberation, I decided to keep the outdoor dog kennel.  It's in panels, and is very very easy to put together.   I can get that foster cage out of the living room, and, if I need a cage for taming kittens or a sick cat, can put that one up quickly.   It's a good thing to have on hand and ready, and allows me to rid the living room of that useful but ugly and space sucking homemade  foster cage.

My car refused to budge when the temps turned to single digit and layers of ice enshrouded everything three years ago.  Battery.  I think however the car just wanted me home safe, not out in that ice storm.   Then in February that year when over a foot of snow fell, the car pretended to have a bad starter.   I had to stay home again, not drive and when the snow melted, the starter problem was gone.  Yeah.  They could make movies about my car.

It's front bumper has been ripped off.  It's back bumper has been caught on my garden boxes, pulled off and drug.  Both times I just snapped them back in place.  A few tears in the plastic here and there, a few missing clip bolts, no big deal.  It's dented and scratched and faded with missing parts here and there and I just love that car.  Best car ever!  Has averaged in the low 30's in miles per gallon its entire life, more before all the ethanol got added.

I think it will be fine, I told my brother, who said, "What?" when I told him the miles on it, when he asked.  Then he added, "Why it must still have its new car smell, its just getting started."

"Right on," I smiled.  Just getting started.

In the end, my optimistic nature starts trying to restart.  I think to myself, 'there's nothing I can do now about India and the three teens, released after just a few days in confinement at a new place.'  In the end, I still think somehow I can find and save those Waterloo park cats left behind.  Maybe I can, maybe I can't.   And in the end, I think my car will just keep on running, keep on carrying cats to be fixed like its nothing to have close to or over 300K miles, like the brave little car its always been.

I think about all the Mexican nationals, some in this country, illegally, for a very long time, now, with their families, living in fear today will be the day they're taken away.  I think about little kids going through cancer treatment and their familes. Such thoughts help me realize my problems are really trivial.


  1. Oh my, one sorrow does not trivialize another. You know that. Some days it is just difficult to sort through the sad parts to focus on the good ones. The goodness is always there, though, because of people like you. Hugs. Warm hugs.

    1. Thanks McGuffy. Car did fail today. No more driving.

  2. If anyone deserved a good free car it is you. Your problems are real. They are impacting your life and not trivial.

    1. Thanks Andrew, sure would be nice. People would love to unload their old gas guzzling SUV's and vans on me, but I can't afford a gas guzzler.

  3. Best wishes, my dear.