Broke my seam ripper last night-

This kitty, the latest to arrive is about 3 years old long-hair smushed nose so part Persian. Their fur mats when you look at them, and this girl has been living outside so long, she is one ball of mats! I’m calling her Mattie- they found her wandering out by the lake and brought her to me.

She is friendly enough and so I started working on her mats. I know better than to bath her right now, though she is filthy and she smells like scummy water. But if I do get her wet, those mats will seize up like concrete and even shaving her would be impossible.
Knotted up fur is both painful and distrurbs the cat because it restricts freedom of movement. It is also not healthy and can be dangerous. The mat starts on the end of the hair, and then the fur mats up underneath the knot. As the matted mess congeals behind the knot, it begins to pull the skin up and causes dandruff, dry skin or other irritations. If the mat isn’t worked with or dealt with, then the surrounding fur gets involved in the tangle and the kitty can be in a real mess health-wise.

When the seam ripper broke, Mattie looked at me as if to say “What now?” I thought for a few minutes and then remembered my crochet hooks upstairs. I ran up to get them- and by golly- they work really well to pull the mats away without pulling skin or hurting or cutting the cat. I try not to use scissors unless necessary because the last time I was un-matting Ms. Dash she twisted and I cut a slice out of her ear!

The vet laughed when I told him and he treated her in his waiting room and said it happens all the time! Not by me, not anymore. My shaver died months ago, so I worked on Mattie until about 2:00 a.m. then brushed her out and gave her a bath. What a stinky kitty she was for a bit there. I had two washbasins of fur left over at the end of her ordeal.

She has been fed and is sleeping upstairs near the sun spot. I will take her in on Monday and have her scanned for a chip. She looks pure and I suspect (or at least hope) someone is really missing her right now.

At any rate, need a good mat puller that won’t hurt the kitty- use a crochet hook and a seam ripper- but be sure and buy the larger seam ripper so it doesn’t break.

Moving through the Non-Profit Maze

The paperwork regarding going non-profit is nothing short of over-whelming. I feel like the government is making me jump through hoops wearing a different hat every time I jump. But, the process has started and the first hoop (or hurdle) is the state. Each form carries a specific fee but officially I am now CATS (Caring About The Strays). It will take 2-6 months to hear back from the state (due to the backlog) but the process has started.

My goal is to cat-fence our acreage and build a sanctuary where older strays and ferals can live out their lives. In this county strays have no standing- shelters no longer will take them in and so they will live on our land till the end of their days unless they get adopted out to loving homes or placed in barns. has acknowledged my efforts and I will soon be listed on their website. If you search for my sanctuary’s name and go shopping under that name, the merchant will donate all proceeds of the sale(s) to my cats! You can also add your favorite shelter to their growing list and like them on facebook to spread the word. It’s pretty amazing when you think about it.

I care about the strays, I always have and always will. It’s in my blood and I want to make a difference for these cats who sometimes endure unimaginable things just to survive on their own.

As many times that I think I will throw in the towel- I know deep down, I am not going anywhere. Not when there is a cat outside in need of help.

The Heartbreak that Keeps on Giving

Took a few days off to rest my heart. Despite all the efforts, we lost Magoo the other day in the early morning hours. The night before, I sat up all night with him on my chest, cuddling him, singing to him loving on him and he made it clear that the fevers have worn him out and he was ready to go.

Always so difficult to make the final decision, sign that white paper and stand by as the last breath is taken.

He was my shoulder buddy and I miss him still. No one has answers as to what this was, only that it must be genetic as the boys are now passed but the girls are strong, loving and thriving in their adopted homes.

I have learned that when there is a genetic defect in a litter- it will skirt the females and only attack the males because of the Y chromosones . The 6-7 month range is when it usually shows itself and Magoo just turned 7 months old.


A few days ago, my kitty radar went off and I knew that Magoo was NDW (not doing well) a term my vet uses for some of the more complex kitty cases. Magoo’s coat was getting a bit oily and he was acting off. I secluded him from the other kittens, took his vitals they weren’t alarming and just started to watch him a bit more closely.

Last night, despite the fact that he was eating, drinking and using the litter pan, his temperature soared to 105.9. I quickly started doing rubbing alcohol rubs on his feet and ears, gave him some fluids and pushed water orally. Thankfully, his fever has come down to 103.9 His third eyelid is pronounced in both eyes, his gums pale and most alarmingly, his rectum has turned from pink to white! I have never seen anything like this before and it will be a few hours before the clinic will be open.

I called a friend of mine this morning. She is a well-known and respected vet in New York and we talked at great length. There are two things that could be going on here- but really, only one because if he was bleeding out he would be weak (he’s not) he’s quieter, but he is not weak. He would be vomiting blood or passing blood- he’s not he’s passing pure mucous. His brothers have all died- his sisters (adopted out) are thriving. Even if it was small bleed, there would be other signs and there just aren’t any. So she is leaning toward genetic defect. She told me that when there is a problem in the litter that is genetic, it hits the Y chromosones first mutating or whatever it does. But it rarely ever hits the females. So here are Magoo’s symptoms:

high fever-quiet mood-white gums and white anus (pads are pink on paws) I gave him fluids last night and he screamed like I stuck him in the bone- but I didn’t. I am so careful when I give fluids and other than turning some kittens into temporary sprinklers, I don’t hurt them. I wasn’t able to give him all the fluids so I gave the rest to him by mouth slowly and he took it all. His third eyelids are pronounced.

He is eating, drinking when I assist him, he is peeing and he is pooping mucous. I am waiting for the clinic to open and will let you know what develops here.

Paying Homage

A few moments ago, I was standing at the end of our drive, waving the American flag at the over 500 bikers on their way to pay tribute to a slain Sweet Home soldier killed recently in Afghanistan.

Words escape me as bike after bike passed me, honking, waving, holding the thumbs up at this woman with a dog by my side, waving the flag back and forth while tears cascaded down my face. So many have fallen, so many have suffered and will continue to do so over this war that has stretched on far to long. I remember when the soldiers returned from Vietnam (even though I was still in high school) but I can remember them being jeered at and hated on. That never made sense either. And now, these same soldiers who were once mistreated by society are making sure it doesn’t happen again and that people remember the horrors of war and the cost that comes with it. God Bless them ALL!

Feral Angst

She is furious. All night long we heard thrashing and crashing upstairs, the growls, hisses, moans and cries. I knew she was safe in her confinement. Not in a cage, but in the cat-room with an old sofa, and a beat-up coffee table marred with scratches from times past. There is an old rug that has comforted many wounded or sickly animal. She has food, water, a soft bed, boxes to hide in and a cupboard to take refuge inside, I knew that going upstairs would only further upset her, so I stayed away trying to ignore the distressing sounds.

My other cats were clearly worried. Several paced back and forth between a door we set up to block off access to the stairs, the door is easily removable, but it also is made out of the stoutest wire we can find to prevent being shredded by frantic claws. Her buddy, Muse even came in from outdoors, a rare occasion for him. He laid down for quite awhile at the foot of the stairs, calling to her every now and again as if reassuring her that all is well, and soon she will be released; once the infection is gone, the wound healed and the swelling vanishes.

It was with trepidation that I climbed the stairs this morning to greet her. As I opened up the bedroom door, it looked like it had snowed! The old couch that is as yellow as it’s age had been gutted. The stuffing was flung everywhere, I could see paw marks in the white fluff, as well as skid marks, as she decided that as long as it was down there, she might as well play in it!

I called to her quietly, and heard her low growling off to the side. Following the sounds, I peeked over the top of the couch and sitting crouched in the corner was this little once feral black kitty covered with white fuzz balls and threads. Scooting the couch away from the wall, I sat on the floor and talked to her quietly, trying to coax away those ominous growls with gentle persuasions. But, she was having none of that. Sometime earlier in the night, Cleo had rediscovered her wild ancestor’s traits and had turned into a ferocious predator- stalking the couch and the cushions, tearing up her adversary and releasing most, if not all of her anxieties and frustrations from her sickroom confinement.

This is the black cat that came to us over seven years ago with blood running from her nose, and a broken leg. She was rushed to the vet, where she underwent surgery and she spent five days fighting an infection that had settled in her lungs. When we got her home, she went on cage rest for a week, and then she was integrated into the rest of the gang and eventually released to join the feral colony on our land. She has spent the time happily running in and out of the shop, keeping the hay barn clear of mice and playing tag with the beetles and bugs, even fishing for minnows in our creek. She is captured once a year for shots, and out of all my cats, Cleo has been the healthiest until now.

I finally was able to bribe her out of hiding, and she came to me and slunk into my lap. I carefully stroked her, being sure to keep my hands away from her wound, but before we parted company I calmed her, then set to work cleaning up the room. She was feeling better because as I was sweeping up her cat-made snowdrifts, she was chasing the broom!

At the end of my visit, I left her curled up asleep inside the cupboard. She had been fed, loved and medicated. I would save the draining of the wound, until Pop came upstairs and could help me. Before I left, I did stop to apologize to Mr. Couch. After many years of faithful service, the only thing left for him was a trip to the landfill. Cleo’s angst had seen to that!

A Kodak moment

Yesterday, a car pulled up and this distinguished gentleman got out, took a wheelchair from the trunk and helped this lady into the chair, wheeling it up to the house. I was thankful we have a wheelchair ramp. He then went to the trunk of the car and started unloading goodies for the cats!

There was cat food, cat litter, cat beds and blankets and some cat toys.

It turned out that the woman adopted a cat from me over 19 years ago and Shasta recently passed away due to cancer. She wanted to thank me for giving her such a wonderful companion who kept her company when she was dealing with her own cancer issues.

She oohed and awed over the recent arrivals but said that her time here now is limited and she doesn’t think getting another cat or kitten is for her right now.

She took out of her purse a brag book and it was full of photos of her and Shasta and this little bottle baby that I raised for a few months, well, I got to see him grow up in front of my eyes.

I had to laugh at one photo, her son had smuggled Shasta into the hospital in his backpack while she was recovering from surgery. there she was, covered in tubes and Shasta lay snuggled in her arms.

We hugged and cried when we said goodbye and she wished me well. She asked me if she could do anything to help out! I looked at the mountain of blankets, the food, the toys the beds and told her she had done enough.

She said she had Shasta cremated and said after she is gone (she is on hospice care now) she wants their ashes put together and scattered in the same place. It was a lovely if bittersweet visit and even writing about it now brings tears to my eyes.

I am always so glad to be able to place these wonderful beings into homes where they are loved and cared for till the end of their days. The problem is they never live as long as we would like them to- but what they give us before they go could fill a treasure room.

It’s Neuter Time

and the house is full. I just helped with a rescue of a cat hoarder and added 8 more kittens to the mix here. That’s 13 neuters coming up what was I thinking?

Some of these kittens are maine coon crosses and they are so big and cute and fluffy. I haven’t even gotten around to naming them. They hit me of all a sudden with a phone asking me how many could I take out of 32 rescued kittens! I took what I thought I could handle- but I feel like I am in kittygarten right now- the house is crazy with activity.

The majority are boys thank God as the neuters are so much less for boys than spays are for the girls. Mike says we have wall to wall kitty carpet right now! LOL He is right. There are a lot of paws pittering around right now-

Friends of the Library

I went to their bookstore today and found an armload of cat books. I started reading All My Patients are Under the Bed by Dr. Louis J. Camuti- a cat only veterinarian who is allergic to cats. I love this book and I am not even into the third chapter yet.

If you take yourself to seriously, buy this book! If you need a smile, a laugh or a giggle, buy this book. If you want to learn some old-time vet tips for your housecat- buy this book. You will laugh- and I am sure in the end, somewhere within the pages, tears will be shed as well.

It rained today and most of the barn cats ducked into their feral cat beds that makes. They are so weatherproof and watertight. All I saw were eyes peeking out at me when I went to feed. They weren’t going to come out while the downpour was going on- what is going on with this strange weather?

My friend Dusty told me she took her digital thermometer and stuck it in the dirt the other day (she lives in TX) The thermometer stopped at 113 degrees Farenheit! I don’t think she liked it when I told her we had the heater on because it was cold.

It is supposed to get warmer tomorrow- but tonight it is calling for a chilly evening so I have turned on the electric cat beds. In August- go figure-

Outsmarting Cats

I may be able to harmonize on stage with a woman’s barbershop group, write a magazine article, bake a to-die-for homemade apple pie. I may be able to paint a picture of my cats, scrimshaw an ivory-handled pistol grip and mow five acres of pasture, but when it comes to outsmarting Chappy- I fall short.

Chappy is semi-feral. He has lived with us for years and it took months for me to take this little tuxedo kitten who was abandoned at a campground that had been closed down and work on his trust issues.

But finally, that golden moment occurred when he came out of hiding and head-bumped my leg and demanded I pet him. I felt like I had won the golden ticket! He is one of those cats who demands you rub harder and faster on him- he has elevator butt down in style and if you quit to early, he will gently nip your hand as if to say- “What are you nuts? Keep going!”

He comes out at night, usually after nine and for months he will sit with me and demand his rubs.

But now, he has hairballs and I have to give him some medicine to soothe his belly and pass the hair easier. So I very carefully laid the medicine on the table near the couch where Chappy visits and he suddenly decides that visits aren’t on the agenda right now. I didn’t see him for days. (Or is it nights?)

How do they know?

Last night, he came out and I carefully uncapped the medicine and reached down to the floor to pick him up and he fled! I gave him no indication that anything new was coming, no eye contact, just a casual gesture to scratch him and pick him up and he flew the coop.

So for now, I will have to deal with the hairballs he so very lovingly leaves in my fuzzy slippers and try to come up with a way to medicate this kitty without turning on his alarm bells.

Keeps me humble~