Tired to the bone

Working, volunteering, caring for Mike as his health continues to decline and riding herd as head cat wrangler, my body is beat. I come home from work late at night with every intention of blogging and usually end up falling asleep on the couch instead.

Mike is going in next week for heart tests and his edema in his one leg has reached dangerous proportions. His one leg is so swollen, that you can actually push in the flesh and it stays dented!

The cats are enjoying their newfound freedom outside during the day, and my doorstep is littered with trophies daily; rats, gophers, mice and lizards. It is still not “Spring” here as the temperature is predicted to fall into the 30′s tonight and through the weekend. The cats seem to know when the bad weather is coming and they will return to the house to snuggle near the heater or on a lap if one is available.

The only cat who has not returned and prefers to live under the house is Chaplain. I was surprised to find that he was the first one out the dog door when it was unblocked, and sad to see that he doesn’t really want to return back to the house, although he is provided many entrances to do so.

Oliver is sneezing multiple times, so I have started him on amoxydrops which he hates. He is so hard to pill because when he was a kitten, that is what he remembers the most, all the pills I had to push down his throat. He turns into a tiger when I have a syringe in my hands to give him his meds.

It is always such a comfort to come home, sit down on the couch and be surrounded by all these lovely feline friends. I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything in the world- not even winning the lottery. Because, there are times, when I feel, I already have.

back again

Had my hard drive melt recently and could only use the computer sporadically that belongs to Mike. He is such a sweet man, he had a new computer built for me for my birthday (Mother’s Day) and he gave it to me early! It flies!!! I am so spoiled because it is so fast. I love it!

I decided on several things recently when I was “computerless.” I want to get back to my manuscript and change the whole format of it. I also unbarred the dog door and the cats are moving in and out of the house freely. They are having a blast, climbing the walnut and apple trees, chasing bugs, playing in the grass, stalking mice..simply being cats. They come in at night for the most part but I just want them to have the freedom they deserve. There is less terrritorial spats in the house now, almost no spraying and life is peaceful for all concerned.

I get the biggest kick out of Matuse, he likes being outside, but he doesn’t have the whole prey/predator situation figured out. He meows softly the entire time as he is exploring the hay loft, running through the shrubbery or following Riley up the walnut tree. But he loves it outside and is one of the last ones to come in at night.

How NOT to be a Crazy Cat Lady

Unless you have been living with your head in the cat litter for several years, you have probably heard the term ?Crazy Cat Lady? once or twice in your life. Perhaps, you have even been called a ?Crazy Cat Lady? when someone saw you feed a stray cat or two, or grab a flashlight in the pouring rain and rescue a kitten caught in a storm drain.

In an article in Psychiatric Times, Allison Cardona- the chief hoarding investigator for Manhattan?s ASPCA is called to the home of an animal hoarder. Her job is difficult. She has to convince a hoarder to spay and neuter as many animals in his home as possible and then allow her to put the animals up for adoption.

Responsible cat rescuers are a far cry from being crazy cat ladies. Crazy cat ladies are animal hoarders. Women or men, who take in cats, but they do not spay, neuter or vet the animals. Thus, two cats become six, six cats quickly become ten, and so unchecked, the cats keep breeding and the number of cats keeps multiplying.

Responsible rescuers are careful not to add to the problem of over-population. Spaying and neutering of all cats under their care becomes top priority.

In a crazy cat lady?s house, a typical scene could be piles of junk in the hallways and rooms, overflowing litter pans. The stench of so many untended animals along with the smell of decomposing animals (also quite common) is unbelievably rank. There is no honor here, only sadness, sickness and death.

In a responsible cat rescuer?s home, you will find well-cared for animals, scooped and cleaned litter pans and no strong, unpleasant odors.

Ill-informed people often throw the phrase, ?Crazy Cat Lady? around with little regard to what the term really means. Here are some ways you can avoid being called a ?Crazy Cat Lady,? these tips offered by responsible rescuers:

Louise Holton, founder of Alley Cat Rescue in Maryland:

? Rescue responsibly. Know and set your limits financially. If you can?t spay and neuter the animals under your care. You aren?t doing that animal any favors.

? Raise money effectively for your cause. When you work with cats who society has abandoned, the work can keep you in the poor house. ?You are not asking for money for you.? It is for the cats, to afford them the level of care they deserve and need.

? All rescuers should network with each other. Be there to support one another and take over when the load becomes too heavy. The internet is a great way to start a network. ?I would love to see a Nationwide network team of rescuers formed, covering every state.?

Has Louise ever been called a crazy cat lady? ?Only by a few uninformed people, who have no knowledge of the amount of work stray and feral cats require.? Louise says. She never over-extends herself, even though she realizes the need of hundreds of callers coming into their helpline will not be answered. ?There are only so many foster homes and vet clinics (where we board cats) to go around.?

Pet author, Dusty Rainbolt ( Cat Wrangling Made Easy) offers her thoughts:

? Learn to say ?NO! You can?t save them all, even if you want to. Keep a list of resources near your phone. Cat Behaviorists, Shelters, low-cost spay and neuter clinics.

? Don?t accept the guilt-trip someone is handing you as they try and pass off a cat or kittens into your care. It?s not your fault the cat is being abandoned.

? Establish a good relationship with a vet

? NEVER name the foster kittens. ?Naming them allows you to get more involved with the kittens,? Dusty explains. ?Leave it to the permanent family to name the kitties. Numbering them, or calling them by color enables you to keep your distance. Once you name them, you are sunk.?

? Work with rescue groups in your area. Establish communication with other cat people in the area. Where one can?t take a rescue, perhaps another can.

Across the world in Australia, an authorized RSPCA foster parent Tania Waterhouse suggests the following tips:

? Keep on top of litter box patrol. When you live in a multi-cat home, you need one pan for every cat. That?s a lot of scooping for you. So keep the litter pans clean at all times. Don?t let the smell rule your home.

? Don?t be a hermit. Don?t get caught up in the cats? needs and forget your own. Take time to be with friends, go shopping (not just for cat food!) Read a book, go for a walk. Just get away from the responsibility for small stretches at a time.

? Know your limit. Know when to say ?NO!? It?s easy to get overwhelmed, especially when the need is great. If you have to say to yourself ?What?s one more cat?? You are headed for trouble.

Cat hoarding and cat rescuing are miles apart in definition. ?The media loves to pay attention to the cat hoarders.? Louise says. It then makes anyone who is legit and really rescuing look as though they are cat hoarders. There is a definite distinction. ?
If you want to rescue that stray in the backyard, your rescue attempt should not stop with just feeding the ?poor starving kitty.? Trapping, neutering and releasing or re-homing cats takes you out of the realm of crazy cat lady and puts you into a responsible rescue situation. If you are unsure how to trap-neuter-and release,use the Internet. The Web has hundreds of resource sites to help you.

Rescuing is a serious business. Those who misunderstand your intentions may label you crazy, but the healthy, well-fed happy cats under your care know better.

Mucked out the stalls today with Riley in attendance. He likes to walk the rafters over my head as I work and will occassionally come down and head bump me then climb back up to the top of the barn. I have been derelict in my duties as stall mucker. Racer, the little snot has discovered that if he poops in Trav’s stall, his stall stays cleaner. Since I have been unable to keep him inside his stall, this is what he chooses to do. Poor Trav had a mountain of manure piled up in the one corner of his stall. It is now spread outside and will be tilled under once the rain officially leaves.

I re-organized the cat enclosure and came up with a nifty shelf unit where the cats can sit and watch the birds outside. Everest is getting a bit growly with his group and I wonder if his arthritis is acting up again. He is such a young cat to have arthritis, but his previous abuse (being flung down a sewer drain) had something to do with it.

Matuse keeps darting out the door every time I open it. I got tired of chasing after him, so now he is outside on the patio and walking around the property. He is my strongest Alpha, so I am sure he can handle Wild Kitty when she shows up. Mercedes is another one who darted outside yesterday. She just stays within arms reach of me, and I need to capture her and bring her back inside. I know she left because she was tired of me giving her medicine (she gets reoccuring UTI’s) and she hates the medicine. She discovered that if she hides under the bed, I can get to her, but if she hides under the house, she is safe from the pill monster….sigh…

I know my group would be happier outside, but there are so many dangers around here. Most of the neighbors hate cats, so poisoning is always a concern. Plus, they do kill birds when they are outside- not a ton of birds, but one or two a week and that just won’t fly (no pun intended)

Gretchen is growing like a weed and she has discovered a love of tennis balls. Boy can she run!~ *It is so funny to fling the ball and watch her take off after it, with Riley the cat in hot pursuit! Reminds me of when we lived in Alaska and I used to walk Brandy every day down our street and Smudge, our calico would follow along. The neighbors used to laugh and point at the girl, the German Shepherd and the calico cat walking together. Gosh, I miss Smudge- it will be going on 8 years soon to the day she got cat-napped by that awful woman and ended up trying to escape out the window of the cat-napper’s car and ended up getting hit on the highway. I will never forget that day as long as I live.

Mike is ill again. His blood sugar is dropping on an almost daily basis and he will not call the doctor. i know he is afraid they will put him back in the hospital. But now, he is running fevers and if it continues, I will hit him in the head with a 2×4 and call the ambulance myself!

It is raining today off and on so I am inside trying to get a few things off my desk. Now, I need to go and get dinner and see if I can get close enough to Mercedes to give her the medicine she needs.

Spring is here…for a few days anyways!

Took Gretchen to the dog park today and was relieved to find friendly, obedient dogs and owners there. The dogs (all six of them) had a great romp together and Gretch is so tired right now, she is crashed out on the top of her doghouse! This is good because I have a long shift at work today and Mike is sure to fall asleep early, so Gretch might not have many “Marley Moments” in my absence.

I am trying to introduce her to many types of situations and at least one new dog every day. I got some wonderful comments about her devotion to me (though I believe she was more devoted to the tennis ball in my hand) but at any rate, she played ball with the group, met Beau the beagle, Ginger the Pointer, Jake the Golden Retriever and other nice dogs. No aggression in the bunch so wonderful to see the dogs playing under the sun which is here for a few days at least.

Taking Time

I have been absent a bit. Turned off the computer and just took time to get back to life. It is also spring cleaning and my home is getting scrubbed top to bottom. I have carted off items to the local thrift shop and tossed out the sacrificial sofa (the one the cats mark with claws and pee) I had to laugh when the driver took the couch out of here. He had his head so far back from the “aroma” that he almost fell over! I did warn the movers though that the couch had been routinely baptized by a myriad of feral kitties. I also doused the couch with as much Zero-Odor I had on hand, although it was to little to late! Heck, when I sat the couch out in the garage, I could smell it as I walked back to the house.

I find that I cry easily now. Buying dog food for Gretchen, I took the bag out to my car, sat down behind the wheel and promptly fell apart missing Kodie. Watched Marley and Me on Monday and both of us cried buckets. It was a good movie, but it was a definite catalyst for our grief.

Finished Michael Crichton’s book The Prey and started his other book Sphere. Such a talent, so sad he is no longer witih us.

Re-did the roll call on the refrigerator as it is flea-treating time again. Another round of tears for cats no longer with us; Guinevere, Twirl, Indiana, Jackson, Wilson, Madison, the distemper kitties. :( List has gone way down.

Co-worker called me the other day out of the blue to ask to borrow a thousand dollars and did I have any food she could have, and by the way, would I like 26 cats! Boy, I have no idea what that was all about but I said no to everything. How in the world could I take 26 cats all at once? Talk about a pee festival happening!

Mike is still scaring me. Came home from work the other night and his blood sugar was 50! He was disoriented, clumsy and shaky. I got him some juice, candy and carbs and in a few hours he was better.

I have been working a lot of hours lately. My bosses’ daughter has breast cancer and her sister was recently diagnosed with cervical cancer. I am supposed to have 3 days off but I am on call and suspect I might have today off and nothing beyond that. At least I have a job because here the unemployment rate is the highest it has ever been!

Time to feed the monsters—