Darby isn’t hiding, he is coming out and being social as is Ms. Penny. I knew they were good people and their home is so beautiful. Those kitties scored!
I just had returned from the coast and a successful adoption of Penny and Darby and my phone rings. Seems there is a stray cat showing up on the outskirts of Lebanon, skinny as a rail- hair falling out- can I take it? The couple had tried hard to find a home for this cat, but no one wanted a cat with very little hair on it’s back, tail and legs.
So who takes those cats? We do- I went and fetched this very young Tortie who either had been shampooed with flea shampoo off the shelf, or she has demodex mange (which is pretty rare here). I have put her in the bedroom and will take her on Monday to get her looked at. She is a pretty girl despite my horrible photo of her. She reminds me of Aurora who was adopted out last week to a really nice family with a 12 year old girl who loves torties!
You can see her almost hairless tail and back and legs. But her face is striking.
My 7 year old barn cat Axle has been missing for about a month. This morning, when I went into one of the enclosures where the cats have access 24/7 to the outside world- I found him lying on his side. He didn’t look right and when I went to pick him up carefully, my hand slid inside of him! He had a large gash on the inside of his back right leg. He also had multiple puncture wounds on the outside of his leg and it was hot and swollen. Temp 103.8. Normally, I can treat wounds but not this time. I had to take Mike to the doctor’s office at 8:45 so Axle went for an early morning ride and after picking Mike up, I stopped in at the vet’s office and dropped Axle off to be seen.
They flushed his wounds and cleaned him up. They thought I had shaved him down, but either he pulled all the hair out of the rear of his leg and his stomach area or he lost it in whatever he battled. I thought he had gotten hit by a car- but the vet said no, it was bite marks that had abscessed and been percolating for sometime until it blew out of his inner thigh. Poor kitty. He got a shot of covenia and a lot of loving from me. He is now in the house under my watchful eye. He’s a lover not a fighter and I have to wonder if Merlin has again made an appearance here. Merlin is a beautiful cat- but he is an older tomcat and trap savvy enough to elude capture for three years now. I think he belongs to someone who is mean to him because he is as mean as dirt. I’ve almost gotten to the point of when I see him- to just chase him off our land to discourage him from returning. I couldn’t even snare him with my drop trap. He’s just one of those. I would love to grab him and snap his gonads right off- he’s attacked four of my cats in the past- Axle would be the fifth victim.
Mike is still anemic so they are talking about giving him a blood transfusion. The problem is under the new managed care plans, transfusions are extremely hard to get. His doctor told us today that even some of her patients getting chemo can’t get blood transfusions. Mike said no problem, he will just stop at a hardware store and buy some roofing nails and add them to his diet! Always the jokester.
I’ve been taking Zara with us on these trips and she is charming the socks off of all she meets. She is so darn smart! She picks up training so quickly and then looks me like, okay mom- what’s next? She now follows me everywhere and I can take her outside the back without a leash. She doesn’t chase the cats, she does try to sneak their food if I am not watching, but she is only 11 weeks old. When I vacuum, she follows the vacuum! Most of the dogs we’ve had either bark at the darn thing or they are scared of it. Not her- she just follows me along. She is getting so big in her back rear legs- you can really see the collie in her now. I need to post some photos of her soon.
Tomorrow, she will accompany me to the coast. I have a hopeful double adoption tomorrow morning. The family wants Penny, my 2 year old Mack Tabby and they also really want Darby- I told them about Darby’s shyness and challenges and they said no problem, they will leave him alone until he figures out they are good people! YAY!!
So wish us luck- it’s a bit of a drive and both cats aren’t going to be happy being cooped up in a carrier for two hours. I will have to remember to take Ms. Zara’s squeaky frog away from her before she gets in the truck. She’s so funny- she has a lot of squeaky toys now, but this one green frog, she talks to it every time it squeaks! It squeaks, she squeaks- Mike was laughing this morning listening to her in her crate behind his seat. I leave the crate door open if we are in the truck, and she lays back there and has a conversation with her frog. It’s like she is trying to match the pitch. Oh I wish I had a video camera- putting that on YouTube I bet it would go viral! Oh well, she’s good for entertainment purposes but I doubt Penny and Darby would be pleased to listen to her! LOL
Here are Darby and Penny’s photos
Oh my seems like there might be more than I originally thought as several cats were still hiding in the bricks and in the woods. I was also informed I have lost those 10 spaces for neutering late in March. No idea why-
Ok just talked to the FCC and they have no idea who told me this and why. I have ten spots still opened, I have to transport the cats to Portland but that’s not a big deal.I can do that. I did tell the gal that there are more cats then I originally thought.She said she will open more spots for them.
I may not be able to financially do to much with these cats but I can at least stop them from reproducing.
My friends were throwing me a “Thank God You’re Divorced” party because my first husband was such a “stellar” human being. :) At any rate, on my second(I think it was my second) margarita, my best bud Jeri presented me with a present wrapped up in newspaper. She challenged me to open this present WITHOUT tearing the paper badly. She did not tell me why, but she was giggling. I looked at this small present and noticed there were yellow highlights on it. I questioned her about this, she just told me to open the darn thing already. I carefully peeled it open. It was a coffee cup declaring my new motto- “Thank God I’m Single.” What was left on the table was a newspaper full of ads from men searching for girlfriends, wives, lovers whatever.
I looked at her like “Really? Are you kidding me?” She just smiled and said that she knew because I was a writer, that I would write one of these ads she highlighted. I told her no way and put the paper aside. It had taken me two years to find my ex-husband and serve papers on him. I was not going to jump in that pool anytime soon!
But we kept drinking. There were eight women total in that party and they all kept challenging me to at least read the ads. I finally capitulated and picked up the paper and read the ads she highlighted. Now the challenge became to pick one. I did- in a very drunken state of mind- I pointed to the following ad:
“Middle-age man looking for female friend to share adventures in life. Needs to love kids, photography, animals, long hikes, warm nights by the fire and reading. Enjoys vintage cars, boats. Believes in the basic Bible Principles- if interested write:
So I did, after about two months of procrastination, I sat down and answered this ad that Michael had written at the urging of his children. This was before the computerized age, the only way to communicate back then was actual letter writing or phone calls from land lines also the video camera was coming into being, but cassette tapes were also popular.
A few months later when I returned back to my apartment and picked up my mail, I noticed I had a letter from Alaska. I remember thinking “ALASKA? I don’t know anybody in Alaska.” I flipped the letter over and saw the stamp of the National Singles Register and realized the ad I answered had replied. I called Jeri and she came right over and I opened up the letter.
Mike and I wrote for five years before we even met. He kept asking me to come to Alaska but my work in the corporate world kept me busy. I was traveling throughout the region doing my training and I just kept putting him off. We talked on the phone on a daily basis, which was admirable on his part, because I was never in the same place twice. One day, he mailed me a copy of his phone bill. When I saw how much he was spending to stay in touch with me, I told him, I would come and meet him. But I was paying for the airfaire with a 24 hour turnaround on my ticket (just in case he was a serial killer or something) LOL He agreed.
During the flight, I was so nervous I kept making trips to the back to the plane. Finally the stewardess came by and asked me if I was okay? I think she thought I was chain smoking in the bathroom or something. I told her why I was nervous and she was enchanted by my story. She kept checking in with me after that.
I got off the plane and went up to meet this man who I only had photos of. No one was there to meet me? I stayed around, I looked, didn’t see him or his kids, so I thought, well maybe in Alaska they meet you at baggage claim. If you have never been to the Anchorage airport, it is HUGE.
I went down to baggage claim, no one there but my luggage. No Mike, no Dennis, no Doug, no one. I was getting a bit upset. I grabbed my luggage and started downstairs to see if I could use my 24 hour turnaround (the joke’s on me) ticket. I was in a hallway and I looked over at a line of phones. I put my luggage down, picked up the phone and I was going to call this person and give him a piece of my mind! Just as I picked up the receiver, I hear this HUGE LOUD wolf whistle. I looked down the hall and here he comes with 2 dozen roses and his youngest son bearing down on me. He told me they had given him the wrong gate to meet me at. I came in clear on the other side of the airport while he was above me on the opposite end.
He handed me the roses, grabbed my luggage and hustled me away on the greatest adventure of my life. We spent a week fishing Hidden Lake, exploring Kodiak island and I met most of his kids. It was magical and he was the perfect gentleman the whole time.
And today, we celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. Although it should be a day of celebration, there is a bit of a sad note to this day. I took him to Portland yesterday to see the vascular team and they told us he has now an ulcer on his good foot. I had noticed his bandaged foot and asked the nursing home nurse. She informed me it was a “blood blister.” I didn’t unwrap it to look, I took her word for it. After all how can you mistake a blood blister for a diabetic ulcer? The vascular team unwrapped it and looked and told me to take a look as well and my heart fell a thousand feet. This ulcer is larger and deeper than the one that took his leg. One of the doctor’s when he saw it said a bad word. I was surprised he knew that word! But I said the same word to myself when I saw the wound. It is a result of the physical therapy and weight bearing they have had him do at the nursing home.
Now he is on strict bed rest- no weight bearing. They did finally remove the stitches from the other leg. Our challenge now is to keep his good leg healthy and hoping the ulcer heals quickly. He thought he was coming home today. Looks like he’s in there for the long haul. please just keep him in your prayers. he sure doesn’t deserve all of this hardship.
By the way, to get back to the original opening of this post. Mike received 368 letters from women from that ad! He chose three to write to (with the help of his kids) I was one of the three. Even despite all the issues of today, I consider myself so lucky to have him in my life. He is always so cheerful and loving- smiles at everything and I love him deeply.
I just got off the phone with a representative of the Feral Cat Coalition in Portland. Due to circumstances beyond their control, they have had to shut down the speuter mobile that used to park in Corvallis twice a year for a spay and neuter weekend. Because of this, they are offering the same services from Portland. This is where I want this new colony to fit into this time slot – March 29th. I was told if I can transport the cats to Salem. there is a caravan that will take all the cats to Portland and then after the operation will bring them back to Salem. This is all donation based work- bless their ever-loving hearts!
Not only do they spay and neuter but they vaccinate, treat wounds, treat earmite invasions, do subcu fluids if needed and supply pain meds and antibiotics for the cats after the surgery. Not a bad option.
Because of the fact that I only have five traps- I have asked them to reserve for us 10 spots on that day. It means that some of the kittens might be pregnant during the spay but they said they will spay regardless. I’m trying to look for options beyond the vet clinic in order to save some money to be used toward the cats in a more positive way- like actual advertising the ones here for adoption or just trying to save some money for emergencies because unfortunately in this line of work, emergencies usually happen in the middle of the night.
So now that I know, I have ten spots, I can concentrate on getting 10 of these colony cats trapped in such a way that it won’t throw the rest of the group into a panic once the trapping starts. If we can use the carriers- it won’t be quite as traumatic as an open trap in the middle of the woods.
Spent four days along with Melissa from the coast trapping the black cats and thanks to Kentucky Fried Chicken I am happy to say all the cats are captured and have been transported to the coast. Ocean living, what cat wouldn’t love that? All the fish you can eat! Melissa gets her fish straight off the fishing vessels as they dock. She says her cats all love sushi!
Here is our next project which I will be tackling probably by myself as other rescues when asked are just to busy to help. But here are some of the cats from the feral kitten colony. The adults are going into heat right now, so time is of the essence or more inbreeding is going to occur.
These are the older ones, the kittens are skittish and they hide quite effectively. I will try to put their photos up because they are real cutiepies. the beautiful orange tomcat met his end on the road a few days ago. I moved him off the highway early in the morning on my way to town. I wondered if it was the tom from this colony and according to Wes the caretaker, they aren’t seeing the tom right now. Since the girls are in heat, I suspect the Tom I moved off the road is the same one I saw the first day I visited the colony.
She slept with me in the bedroom last night and when we woke up in the morning, she went straight to the food bowls and started eating. She also used the litterpan the first time in several days. After it was done, I knew what her issue has been with not eating. She was full of roundworms. I believe the worms to be connected to her coughing episodes. I think she just wanted them out of her. Yay for Profender it finally did the job for her. It has helped too, bringing Mike’s wheelchair out in the living room so she can sleep on it. Hopefully now, she will turn the corner and start getting better as days pass.
Right now, she is laying with Zara on the puppy bed. They seem to be getting along just fine .
Yesterday, I had to take Glory to the vets. Since Mike has been in the hospital, she isn’t herself. She will run to the food bowls during feeding time, but she won’t eat. She has been to vet more than any cat here, simply because she is one of Mike’s cats and he only has two. I do not want anything to happen to her while he is gone. They never find anything wrong with her. Nothing that sticks out anyway. But when I look at her, I get the most unsettling of feelings. She has this bulge on her side. It’s not the typical spay sway that some females get. It is larger on her right side then her left. the vet said it is just excess fat. She is drinking a lot of water, but she is also doing a great deal of coughing for minutes at a time and she isn’t showing any other signs of URI. So for my peace my mind, I took her in yet again.They took a film and said everything checks out. Lungs are clear, she has stool in her she hasn’t passed yet, no gas showing up- only a bit of arthritis in her lower back.
Since she is constipated, they gave her a kitty enema (no results) but everything else has checked out to my vet’s satisfaction. I was given appetite stimulants for her which worked and she is eating again. She just doesn’t look right and she is sleeping a lot.
My hope is she is just depressed because Mike isn’t here. But I just can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong. On my way out, one of the techs came up to me and handed me a bag. It was a plain white bag with handles and it was heavy. I didn’t need to look inside to know that Brandi had come home again.
She had so many places she loved to run. I thought about her most of the night, and prayed in the morning and then drove up to the mountains to the Cascade Lumber Co. trails. We used to go there early in the morning and I would unleash her and watch her just play in the forest and race down the trails, disappearing at times into the bush until I would call her back to me. We haven’t been up there in months because her running days were falling far behind her. It was all she could do to make it down the ramp in the mornings to do her business. It is fairly isolated up there.
I took the urn and started walking up the hill. Finding a nice green knoll, I bent down and poured Brandi into the forest telling her that now she is truly free. I felt at the time that the Cascade Trails was appropriate to release her, because tears were certainly cascading down my face.
On the drive back, I always pass a storage yard for heavy equipment and recreational vehicles. I have never seen anyone in there, but this time I noticed a motor home with full hookups running parked on the lot. So someone was there now probably watching over the equipment so it doesn’t get stolen. That’s when I saw movement in the field within the fence. I stopped my truck and I looked and all of a sudden breaking through the grasses come dozens of kittens! Leaping and playing and running but zoned in on that motor home and at that time of morning, my guess is they were saying “Feed me!”
Sure enough, this man comes shuffling out of the motor home with a dry cat food bag and he pours the kibble all over the ground. The kitties just scarfing it all down. I counted 18 kittens and saw two older adult cats wandering towards the food. The kittens bore an unhealthy resemblance to each other which means inbreeding is going on.
I hollered at the guy and he came over to the fence. I asked him what the story was on all these kittens and he told me that people come up to the forest and dump their cats. Ultimately, because he loves cats and puts food out when he can, they end up at his door.
As the fates would have it, I had picked up a food donation a few days ago and it was still loaded in my truck. This man looked like he didn’t have two matches to rub together and so I asked him how hard was it for him financially to provide for all these hungry babies. He told me “They eat before we do.” He gave me permission once he found out that I too love cats to drive into the yard.
I was there for about an hour just watching the kittens. Each one broke my heart. There is a little long-haired maine coon girl who is limping. Wes (that’s the man’s name)said she had gotten caught in a fence. They look to be around 2 months old and Wes and his wife have set up boxes and other cat beds in the area so they get a bit out of the weather. One cow kitty, a girl shows signs of surviving distemper. Her head tilts to the left and at times, she will stop what she is doing and do continuous circles to the right. Wes asked me what I thought this was all about and I told him she either got hit by a car and suffered brain damage or she’s a survivor of distemper. I gave the couple some dry cat food to help ease their burden a bit.
I told Wes I would help them as much as I was able to. We are going to go over and trap and neuter these kittens as soon as possible. For this colony- they are safe where they are at so anything that I do with them will be there in the yard and not in one of my enclosures as far as the group goes. But the ones that are so ill- I saw conjunctivitis, URI infections, the tomcat has a wound on his leg. Those I will bring in and vet and work with and find them homes, especially the little cow kitty I call twirl because she circles.
As I often say in this blog , God is always in the Details. I had been doing some calling to other rescues out of our county and sharing the story about the black cat colony. I found a woman in Bend who said she would be willing to take the colony. Bend is about 3 hours from us. Normally, this time of year, the pass isn’t accessible unless you have chains, but our winter is light this year. She is coming over this weekend with volunteers to help her. Like me, she is a private rescuer and happens to have a passion for black kitties.
So I see Brandi sitting back watching all this unfold. She used to bring me hurt or ill kittens on our walks. And now today, her final act, during her last walk with me was to bring me the awareness of all the kittens near her old stomping grounds. Not only do the kittens need assistance, but the two humans who are feeding them need our help as well. This is indeed Brandi’s final act.
This morning, I went in early to the grocery store to buy canned cat food. (None was donated this week). The manager of this one store is always kind enough to discount cans to me when this happens. My cart was pretty full and as I stood in the check-out line there were these two women behind me giggling and whispering.
I have to say that I have the ears of a bat and I heard every word, including the ones that kept popping up “Crazy Cat Lady.” I didn’t say a word to defend myself. I have other things on my mind, but I left the store with their hysterical laughter trailing me.
I got home and thought about some things.One being that I didn’t choose this life, it chose me. So in honor of that and to all you cat lovers out there- I have written the following poem.
I hope you enjoy it, I hope you share it and I hope it speaks to the people who don’t understand what it is to live among these often misunderstood creatures. And I hope it brings smiles to those who do! So without further ado, I present my poem:
Ode to the Crazy Cat Woman
by Mary Anne Miller
C-is for the Comfort
found within the rumble of the purrs.
R-is for the Relationship
wrapped tightly up in fur.
A- is for the Awareness
in between the chaos and the strife.
Z is for the Zeal,
you’ve got a friend for Life.
Y- is for the Yowling,
heard only during feeding time.
C- is for the many Cat food cans
waiting down the line.
A- is for Aluminum,
it’s recyclable (Thank you Lord).
T- is for the Tomcat,
now neutered at your door.
L- is for the Licking of the tongue
upon the face.
A-is for feline Agility,
the loveliness, the grace.
D- is for the town Debate,
Is she crazy? Is she sane?
Y- is for Yielding, to the One who truly reigns
understanding this life is a calling
not one easily explained.
One further note CATS Inc. now only stands $376.00 short of making the vet debt! I cannot put into words my feelings to all of you who dug in and sent me your lunch money, your “I don’t need to play BINGO tonight money” and everything else in-between. Hopefully this will keep us in good graces with the vet. You guys rock! I am so in awe of all of you. Thank you for keeping us alive.