The Five Feral Kittens

I had to take the new babies in today to get them tested and evaluated. They had been leaving poop trails across the floor and it was discovered they have coccidian. It is going to be challenging to medicate them every day when they don’t quite trust me yet. I could put them in the cage, but that would be horrible because then they couldn’t escape the mess and the stench left behind as they shed their bodies of the bacteria. They were de-wormed and de-flead and I will just have to go in every day twice or more if necessary and mop up the messes. I was surprised they tested negative because two of them are so sick. But, it is the coccidia and the worms according to the vet- so in a few days, they should all start feeling better. They are on Albon and a new kitten food (canned) Royal Canin Babycat- almost twice what we would pay for the regular canned kitten food, but according to the vet, they need this food to thrive.

The Phone Call

Last night, I received a tearful phone call from an elderly woman whose life had drastically changed in a moment’s notice. She has 4 older cats and found herself losing her farm and having to move in with friends as she sorted out her life. Her husband had recently passed and she said she posted online begging someone to take all of her cats until she could get back on her feet. A lady responded immediately and said she would help her out. But, when they went to drop off the cats, she realized the home was not the best place for the cats to be. The woman put all four cats into a small, cluttered non-ventilated room. The owner of the cats had no choice but to leave them, but as time went on, she said she could see her cats changing and not doing well. She said she was at the local feed store and she heard some people talking about my sanctuary and could I please- please- take her cats temporarily?

I’m listening to her story and hearing the desperation in her voice. I told her I needed to pray about it and think about it and see what I can come up with. When I said that, she replied she knew that because I was a believer, I would help her.

I called George and we bounced some ideas off each other trying to figure out how I could bring four older cats into the sanctuary. In our main enclosure there are now only two cats who frequent the area. Chappy and Andie and generally both of them stay inside the tunnels leading to the house. So George built a wire endcap to the tunnels and closed the opening leading to the main enclosure off to the house kitties. The four cats will stay in the main enclosure and Zulu who is still in the introduction cage would also be out there.

I called the woman back and told her our decision. She was so grateful and brought the cats right over. Hopefully, these cats will not be permanent residents here. She said she is trying very hard to find a place to rent that accepts cats but four cats in this area in a rental is almost unheard of without a huge pet deposit. But initially when she explained to me the condition of the house the cats were staying in, we knew it wasn’t the best place for older kitties. Plus, with all this hot weather and no ventilation- things could go south quite rapidly.

Here are three of the four cats newly arrived:




They carry names like “Precious, Pretty, Buddy and Kiki” so let’s hope that their owner can find a home for all of them to grow old together- time will tell. Precious immediately went into one of the cupboards and is in hiding- she is a mackerel tabby about 9 years old.

Eyes for Cats

Returned home yesterday from my trip to see my mother. The first thing I did when I turned on my computer was check Heartland’s pages to see if Franklin and Huggles are still among the “adoptable.” I am so thrilled to say, they both were adopted out fairly quickly to loving homes! I am not surprised but I am so relieved that I am not the only one who loves the orange babies!

My intention before driving down to California was to sleep most of the day before leaving, but as the fates would have it, so much had to be prepared beforehand, both for Mike and the cats that I might have gotten 3 hours of sleep before heading out at 1:30 a.m. I hadn’t even been able to make it to the California border when I knew I had to pull over and find a place to sleep. I found a place near an abandoned motel and parked. Quincy was with me on this trip, so I let him out to stretch his legs and do a potty break. The minute his feet hit the ground, I heard this horrible screeching noise overhead. At first, I thought it might be an owl, but the noise wasn’t right. It was one ticked off bird though and even Quincy was unnerved. He did his business but he was whining and looking all over in the dark waiting to be attacked.

I grabbed my flashlight and started following the noise, and that is when I saw her- a very anxious and irritated Perrigrine falcon sitting on her nest on top a broken street light. She was glaring at Quincy and I was afraid she was going to dive bomb him. I opened the truck and he jumped right in and the noise stopped. I looked up at her and grinned and told her she was a good mama. I told her we weren’t staying just catching a cat nap. Little did I know how prophetic those words would turn out to be!

A few hours later, I woke up. It was still dark outside and I just wanted to stretch  my legs and walk a bit. I left Quincy in the truck and stepped outside. I heard the kitten before I actually saw it. A little black kitty all alone in the grasses. There were no homes around, we were up in the mountains and the motel had been long abandoned. No momma cat came to whisk the little one to safety. He/she looked so hungry. As I always carry cat food in the truck- prior to leaving, I had to figure out how to keep the food away from a nosey dog, so I tucked some dry and canned food into a small carrier and tucked it under the back seat.

Ok, you guessed it. When I drove away from that spot, I had a new kitty with us. She was so hungry (and so damn skinny) all I had to do was open a can of food and put it into the carrier. She raced in, I shut the door- captured! She was now riding in the carrier on the passenger seat.  Between the back seats is an open area that Quincy would sometimes lose his balance and fall into. In order to prevent this, I put two small bags of litter in the space and covered them with a towel. All that was left was to find a litter pan.

Further down the road at a gas station, I bought a small plastic tray and kitty was set. All this time, I am just asking myself over and over- “Mary Anne what are you doing?” But I had a hitchhiker and I had to just press on. Kitty slept the majority of that night, she was so worn out. I decided to name her Hitch.

Our next stop was near a river. There was a Burger King and I was starving. It was about 9:00 a.m. by then so I picked up my food and went behind the restaurant to let Quincy out and to stretch my legs. As I got out of the truck, I saw this homeless guy headed straight for me and I groaned. Our town is full of panhandlers, and I guess I was hoping I could just relax on this trip and not have to feel guilty about not giving out money to people asking. I give them food, water whatever I can but never money.

He came up right beside me and Quincy’s head was popped out the window watching. He grinned a toothless grin and said “Are you here to watch the cats?”

I looked at him stunned and said “What did you say?” He said it again and told me that down by the bluff by the river there were dozens of feral cats and two ladies had been feeding them over ten years! He pointed out to a higher spot on the bank, and I could see about 7 homeless people watching the river intently below. I could see two women moving about the cats, pouring out cat food into cardboard boxes. The cats were jumping in the boxes and fighting for position- but they were being fed. Pans of fresh water set out on the slope could also be seen.

I left Quincy in the truck and went down the trail. Agatha, a grey-haired wonderful soul met me with a warm handshake and asked me if I was going to donate food or money for what she called “The River Cats.” I started asking rescue questions and she realized after a few minutes that I too rescue. They feed- TNR all the cats in the area and she said that so many people will come and just dump off cats that she finally had to erect a sign that read Animal Abandonment is punishable by Law and up to a $1,000.00 fine.” I asked her if it helped, and she shook her head sadly and said no, not really.

I told her about my operation and then I told her about the kitten. I said under different circumstances and cooler weather, I would just keep Hitch with me until I got home again. But I was heading into 126 degree weather and was going to be boarding Quincy in air-conditioned comfort during my visit- but the kitten would be another story. She agreed to take her. I didn’t have a lot of money, but I did give her some and turned over all the cat food and cat litter that I had and told her to keep the carrier.

Before I left, she took my arm and led me to the edge of the bluff and I looked down and could see all the cats below. It was like a moving canopy of color against a dusky cliff. She said the river was down so much that the vegetation the cats normally hid in was drying up and withering away. She said the kitten would go back to the house, be taken to the vet and then put into foster care until she could find her a home. I drove away from that spot with a different opinion of the homeless because she told me that they would panhandle for money and go and buy cat food and donate it to her!

On my drive, I could see the signs of serious drought all over. Shasta Lake looked more like a swimming pool than a recreational lake. There was only one mountain in the Shastas that had snow pack and it was just right at the top. No snow on the road melting in the mountains as normal. California, like Oregon was in serious drought conditions.

I finally reached my destination (after stopping at every other rest area on the way for Quincy). The kennels where I was going to leave him was high on top of the hills overlooking the town. She had air conditioned inside sleeping quarters and outside runs. Quince didn’t want to leave me, and I didn’t want to force him to go inside the small opening that led to the air conditioned area, so I crawled in first and before I knew it- he was wiggling in right beside me! I opened the flap leading to the outside run and was met with a blast of hot air. When he went out to check out the dogs in the other runs- I backed out and shut the door.

Filling out the paperwork, I noticed a large cage on top of the table. It was clearly custom made, big, containing a few levels. I had to laugh when two black kittens came out to say hello. Beth asked me if I wanted them and I told her no. I had enough black kittens back at my place. Feeling like I was abandoning Quincy, I drove off. I would learn later that Beth and her husband would fall in love with this dog and she asked me if she could have him when I went to pick him up to go home. She said in the 30 plus years she had been doing this- he was the best behaved and loving dog she had ever seen.

About my visit with my mom it went all right. Turns out she has mild dementia and she has been suffering from severe vertigo for many years. About twelve years ago, one of her doctors suggested she take an over-the-counter antihistamine to help level out the vertigo so she has been taking one pill daily ever since. According to the specialist I took her to see, antihistimines cause dementia! So it was decided to keep her on the same product rather than risk her falling and breaking a hip or worse. She is so depressed after losing Dad and a far cry from the mother I remember her to be. I just hope the anti-depression drugs they just put her on will kick in soon because she is living in a really nice place. No, it is not her home, but they take good care of these Independent Living Seniors and oh my heavens all you do is eat all day! I told Mother I was going to go home and go on a diet! LOL

On my first morning there, I was staying in the guest room on the second floor. I opened up the blinds to see the view and there on the roof below my window as a gold and white queen nursing six babies! I laughed and told God: “Now that’s not fair!” Two of her babies were ginger in color- and you gotta love orange kitties!

Here is my mother and me-01motherandme



The Surrender

Tonight, I handed over Huggles and Franklin to one of the local shelters. I know they will get adopted quickly as they are both such nice kitties. The shelter will also take Zulu the gray and white dump kitty when I get back from a quick trip to see my mom. I leave this coming week and will only be gone a few days but it is trip I feel I need to take. Quincy will be going with me as Mike is unable to care for him fully yet. George and Haley will be taking care of the cats and Ron and Jack will check in on Mike. Everything should be fine and when I get home, I will surrender Zulu over to Heartland and concentrate on the socialization of the feral kittens in the bedroom. I am anxious to see my mom and she says she is eager to see me as well although there are times when she forgets my name when we are talking on the phone. My dad’s last wish was for me to watch out for her and I am doing the best I can.

The Dump Kitty

Right before going to bed last night, the phone rang. It was someone who has adopted from us in the past. She now cleans the offices in town and she was at the Sanitation Department.  Seems there was a cat hanging around there for the last few days. Coco said that this cat was all over her and starving. She was afraid to leave it at the dump because of all the dangers and toxic food there. I got dressed and drove to town bringing back with me a very young, matted long-haired gray tomcat. For the next few hours, I spent chasing the matts out his hair. I couldn’t find my seam ripper, so I used a roofing nail instead. My motto is whatever works, and this worked. He only got growly with me once when I was working at a mat under his tail. When I finally freed the mat- he ran over to the litterpan and let it all loose.

Poor boy is of course so skinny- no muscle, no fat not even an ounce. He has inhaled several cans of cat food over the night as well as dry food. He was dehydrated so we gave him fluids. Like Franklin, he too was covered with fleas. I gave him capstar and will go and get him flea meds this morning.

He is out in the deck enclosure right now. It is only supposed to get up to 80 today, but I turned the fan on anyway this morning. He has several hidey holes in there if it gets too breezy for him.

Here he is: We have not named him yet-


Orange is the new black

This little boy wandered up on a nearby farm. The person who gave him to us said that she suspects an abusive family (long moved on) left him behind in the move. I am calling him Franklin and looking to see if Heartland will take him along with Huggles tomorrow. Not, that we can’t use the adoption fee to chop down the vet debt, but the shelter gets way more traffic than we do I have had him in my lap, he is skin and bones. There should be a law against how skinny this kitty is. At least he isn’t black. At least he has a chance of getting out of this sanctuary and into a better life because he is a color most people WANT to adopt.


The Babies Relax

It is always amazing to me how quickly “feral” kittens turn around when you provide them safety, feedings on a schedule and a quiet environment. This morning when I went in to feed- all five of them were clustered around the wire watching me dish out the food. When I opened the nesting box door, I only got hissed at once and then they dove into the canned food. Five kittens can eat a LOT of canned food.

They are using their litterpans which I was glad to see. I am going to wait a few days before trying to clean them up a bit- I still just want them to settle down and not feel threatened.

I talked to a friend of mine who works at a local shelter and if I don’t find a home for Huggles by Sunday, I will take her over to Heartland and let them find a home. I don’t imagine with her loving personality that she will be in their cages more than 24 hours and I need the room for the new kittens to be able to run around and really start to socialize them and work with them in unconstrained spaces.

Babies on Board

Non-stop calls on kittens. The local rescue group confessed to me that they have 117 kittens in foster homes! That’s just nuts. These babies lost their mom this morning and the gentleman said he called everyone, but when he told them the kittens were feral, he was turned down repeatedly.

Yes, I took them and they are cute although I wish they were any other color but black and mackerel tabbies. I have them out in the nesting box right now. I am waiting for a home for Huggles to come through, then I will move the babies into the bedroom. Mom was pure black and not yet a year old. Same old story-different day-

Here they are, I have no idea what sex they are. I have de-flead and de-wormed them with caution- they are formidable hissers and strikers at the moment. There are five of them- two black and three mackerel tabbies


I have put a carrier inside the nesting box to give them a cave to hide in. I covered the top with a towel to make it darker being careful not to cut off all their air. I moved the nesting box into the bedroom and they are cautious with me as long as I keep my distance from them. They are eating canned kitten food- thank the good Lord, I had a little on-hand right now. The adult food is much to rich for them to eat right now. I do have dry kitten chow which they are also eating. I am not putting water in with them- they make a mess when they are this age and you give them water. As long as they are eating wet food- water isn’t an issue. One Mackeral tabby just sits and trembles when he/she sees me. I am pretty much leaving them alone except for feeding times- feeding four times a day. They have plain clay litter in the litter pans which are nothing more than those throw-away aluminum baking pans you get at the grocery store for a few cents on a dollar. I like those as beginning pans because they have low sides and you get four of them. Kittens such as these are used to mom being the clean-up crew and they will poop wherever they are. The more pans you can leave out for them to use, the better the clean up will start to be.

The babies are caked with mud and bark- they came out of shed that stores firewood. But, I am just leaving them alone for now. Let them acclimate to their new surroundings, get used to not having mom around, then I will take them out and use some Crisco lard to remove the sap on their fur then brush them gently if they will tolerate it. I don’t want to bathe them right now- they had access to clumping litter before arriving here and they have it all between their pads, on the back of the legs etc., putting water on these little one will cause that litter to set as strong as concrete and I will never get it out of their fur.

Huggles is not thrilled with her new roommates and she has taken to sleeping under our dresser now. She will come out when I am in the room and go over and growl at them. Tonight, when the temperature starts to drop, I will cover the nesting box with a blanket to keep them calm and warmer. There is a pet heating pad under the carrier as well to provide warmth.

The good news and the bad news

Andie’s bloodwork is back and it is spot on good considering her age and all she has been through. That’s the good news, but I got a call a few days about an orange kitty that crept through the bedroom window of a little boy and the mom was a bit frantic. She loves cats, but her two dogs- apparently don’t share the same sentiment. When one of the local rescues confessed they were full up, I said I would take her. The woman said she was told the cat is pregnant, but she actually is actively nursing- no kittens have been found yet.

“Huggles” we named her that because when you pick her up, she just wraps her paws around your neck and hangs on- was spayed today. There are several people on the street looking for her kittens. I have also tried to look, but there are stray cats all over that street and it is like looking for a needle in the haystack. I did ask the woman that when the cat was inside did she cry out to go outside? I was told no, in fact when they let the cat outside, she tried to get back inside. My hope is her kittens are old enough to go it alone- but Huggles is only about 7 months old- so it’s anyone guess what happened to her babies.

So here she is- and she is quite the loving girl.






My hope is she will adopt out quickly being orange and being a female- she just might.

Andie has merged into the rest of the group and is hanging out in cat enclosure now. She hides in the tunnels right now. But, she is eating and drinking and she is safe. I will put her up for adoption as well when the weekend rolls around.

Andie at the vet’s

Turns out this girl is not only huge, but she is at least 16 years old! We dewormed- deflead and drew blood on her just to get a baseline and see if there is something internally working against her. She scared the vet tech when she tried to climb the wall twice, and I just told the girl to calm down and let me handle her. She was fine, once she was in my arms, but her growls are quite formidable.

Here she is, not the happiest kitty camper on the planet but looking better than when I found her- She is 19.5 pounds and I have to say my vet was quite impressed with her size. He said she must have Maine Coon in her because her bones are huge.