It was 1992 and we had just moved to Oregon from Alaska. I had been fortunate enough to find a vet that made house calls. He had been to the house a few times giving his final stamp of approval on our main enclosure we were in the process of building. He said that he had a feeling, I was going to do great things for the stray and feral cats in Linn County.

I had stopped by his office that morning to pick up some medicine. There was a woman in the office with a boxful of kittens her and her husband had found in an abandoned campground in Washington State. Ben came out of the room and told the woman that he was sorry but they didn’t accept stray kittens and she would have to contact the local shelters. Then, he spied me in line and said “I know who might take them!”  He was right, they were in really bad shape- super skinny, malnourished, so weak their spitting and hissing wasn’t all that impressive. All five of them went home with me right away. We had deflead and de-wormed them and they just needed groceries.

I got them home and put them in a cage and set out cat food (both wet and dry) baby food, and left them for a bit to allow them to decompress. When I went to check on them again- none of the food had been touched although it was clear, they were starving. For three days- all the wet food, dry food, baby food we gave them went untouched and I became quite concerned. The vet had given them a thumb’s up healthwise, so why weren’t they eating?

I prayed about it and the light went off. They came from a campground so why not try them with campground food. The offerings were scarfed up right away- hot dogs chopped fine, hamburger meat, lunch meat- over the next few weeks, we transitioned them off the camp food onto cat food and normal food for kitties. They started filling out and growing, and one- didn’t stop growing, she just kept steadily gaining weight and height- turned out she was the mom! That’s how badly they were malnourished. We named her Dash, because she had this white mark under her nose that looked like a comma. Her four kittens were christened Hissy, India, Tipster and Chappy

India, Hissy, and Tipster were adopted out. Dash after she was spayed made it quite clear that inside life was not to her liking and after being ripped up a few times when she was in her feral mode, I accommodated her and put her outside soon her son Chappy joined her. They were always together.

When Chappy died this year, I put him out in the grass so Dash could say goodbye to him. She laid by him most of the day until finally, I had to put him in the ground. She would never be the same and retreated deep into the underside of the house. When I took her for her final visit, the vet looked at her x-rays and said “Mary Anne, she is a hot mess!” That’s the same thing he said when I brought Chappy to him to be euthanized. It just made me so sad.

I used to see her inside the heated cat carriers, coming to the food trays in the mornings and sometimes out in the yard, but the minute she saw me coming- she would dash off under the house. In the last month, she wasn’t around at all during the day and only visible at night if I laid down on my stomach and shone my flashlight under the house looking for her. Once the light hit her- she would retreat.

She beat the odds in the beginning of her life and in the end, the odds caught up to her. Now she is at peace sharing her space in Heaven with Chappy and the rest of her family.  Goodbye Sweet Girl- I am blessed that you were in my life for such a long time.


Thanks to a Good Friend

I have been able to end the pain for my senior girl. Robert went under the house a few hours ago and extracted her. I rushed her to the  vet where a mass was discovered in her stomach and we put her to sleep. I gave them a check.  She had a good, long life even being outside and yes, Dash was a brave kitty right to the very end.

I discovered when I got home that my check isn’t fully covered. It is $50.00 short. 🙁  I have to figure out how to cover it now and quickly but at least her agony is over and she is up in heaven with her family now. The vet said she wouldn’t have made it through another week.

Please send prayers

One of our senior kitties is severely injured and has gotten under the house in an area where humans cannot get to. Several have tried, including me- but short of hacking a hole in our living room floor and lifting her out- she is unreachable. I can smell the decay on her- she has been missing for two weeks. I went under there again this morning trying to reach her but even my catch pole won’t work. Inside, I am frantic and scrambling with my brain trying to figure out how to solve this before she dies a slow death. Sorry to be such a downer during the holidays- but please just pray that she has enough left in her to be able to reach the tray of food left for her in a more open area. She is 23 years old, semi-feral  and has been outside since she arrived here at two years old.

Here she is with MK and Poe. She is the kitty with the white exclamation point under her nose.

Slip-Day 2

I know she looks sad and pathetic in this photo, but this was taken right after she arrived home from the vet’s. She is still not eating, so I have moved her into the bedroom (much to the resident cats’ dismay!) They looked at me as if to say: “But Mom, you promised us! No more kittens!” I explained that Slip (and the others when I capture them) are flukes- lovable flukes, but flukes all the same. When I get my hands on her, she leans into the pets, headbumps and wants so much more. Her incision looks good, her crummy ears are now all cleaned out and she really is a sweet, sweet, girl which gives me the hope, the others out in the yard are the same.

This morning, Tripp brought us a frog for breakfast! Thankfully not a toxic toad or salamander but a tree frog that I released back in the orchard. It appeared unhurt. I told Tripp I would pay him back in a few days with fresh turkey meat for his hunting prowness.


Slip tested negative, so she has been spayed, vaccinated and dewormed and de-flead. She is safe inside the intro cage. She got away from us in the room at the vet’s office and she tried to climb the walls, but I still maintain she is not feral. She is just scared. I will not put her up for adoption until all the holiday craziness so she will be here until after the New Year- then I’ll start my search for a tortie lover.

Here she is scared but safe:

Molly is home, she is quite sore and swollen. She has stayed very close to me most of the night- but her swelling alarms me and I am glad she has several shots on board right now.

Molly’s Overnighter :(

They are keeping her because where her wounds are, they are on her back is quite painful. They will sedate her tonight, scrub out her wounds, flush them and administer a pain shot and covenia shot. I can pick her up in the morning. She was not on her best behavior but who can blame her? Please send prayers, she has never been separated from me and she sleeps with me everynight in the crook of my arm. I knew when she bit me on Saturday we were in for it- not like her at all. Fletcher is still in isolation- he also has gone after Bentley and Slip. He doesn’t care for the confinement but at least he can’t hurt anyone else. He would be a great barn cat but does not have it in him to be someone’s beloved “pet” Whatever happened to him before he was pulled from that porn shop has had lasting impressions on him.

Praise the Lord! Slip just got captured! She is in the introduction cage in the cat enclosure. She had been sleeping in a heated cat bed-so I swapped out the bed for a heated cat carrier with a door. It was right by the gate going into the backyard and I could see her from the back patio without her knowing I could see her. Once she settled for the night, I snuck out through the gate (once being glad for traffic going by to cover my footsteps. I had left the gate unlocked, so I carefully swung it open and when the motion lights went on, I froze thinking she would bolt. She didn’t so I leaned in grabbed the door and swung it close. She bounced against it several times before she quit, so I swung the cage upwards and held it down until I locked it. She has a heated cage to sleep in, food, water litterpans and she will go to the vet in the morning to get tested, spayed, vaccinated. I already know because she is tortie that she will be extremely hard to adopt out- so she will stay here with us until I find a true tortie lover (they are rare in these parts) But at least, she will never know the stress of having kittens and having to provide for them outside- or the stress and what I call madness of being mated by toms waiting to jump her. Thank you God- You are truly magnificent!

Race Against Time

With a new female loose, I was fairly confident that even if I don’t catch her right away, there wasn’t a male around to service her that I knew of. This confidence disappeared this morning when I went out to feed and saw him. I call him Tom Tom and he is huge! He’s big long-hair grey  boy and even from a distance I can tell he’s a tom. His cheeks are so huge he looks like a chipmunk storing nuts for the winter (no pun intended).

So I have the spent the majority of the day trying to gain Slip’s trust because not only is the weather getting colder, but if this tom goes for her- he will kill her because she is so tiny. She is older than I thought- now that I have seen her in full daylight- and this afternoon, I was able to pet her back before she vanished under the house. Her and Lincoln seem to be ‘pals’ which is extraordinary to me, because Lincoln is as feral as they come. He’s been here for years- just showed up one day and although I trapped and neutered him, he has been elusive as a ghost ever since. But she has tapped into something within him and I saw him today giving her a bath and they were snuggling together. Cats are so amazing.

Yesterday, the delivery from No Bowls arrived and bless her heart, the owner and inventor Dr. Liz Bales sent enough to keep all the cats in the house busy eating out of these mouse bowls. I have followed the instructions and filled them and left them in hiding places, so far no one has bothered with them, but her literature tells you this happens. It takes time and patience for the cats to figure it out. I will leave some near their food trays tonight and see how it goes. Maybe throwing some catnip into the mix might help? I don’t know..

Molly’s wound is not getting better, so tomorrow she gets to go to the vet. Every  time I try to clean out her wound, she tries to bite me (which is not like her at all) so she is quite painful and pus is still oozing from the site. It’s the strangest thing, she is so loving until she is ill and then she turns into a panther in tortie clothing! She nailed me this morning pretty good on my hand. I thought I was going to be quick and she wouldn’t get me, I was wrong. I am certain they will have to sedate her to examine her. I can’t imagine she would sit pretty for what is in store for her. It looks deep so stitches may be in order.


I saw her this morning- she was lying on one of the cat beds I stuffed under the house yesterday. This is a good sign (they are self-heating beds) My cats didn’t run her off and she is eating the food. Torties are smart and she will figure out that it is safe and soon come out of hiding to say hello. If I push her, I will lose her. But if my two Alphas Fletcher and Bentley haven’t chased her off, this means they accept her into the clowder.

Another to the Table

This morning while feeding, I kept hearing a cat cry. I did not recognize the cry nor could I find the cat/kitten in distress. I even looked up in the walnut tree because now, we have 3 suicidal squirrels and 1 kamakazee chipmunk coming in to gather the nuts. Nope, nothing, just wet leaves and walnuts.

I put all the food out in the feeders and was headed to the house, when I heard the cry again. With the early morning traffic on the highway, it is hard to locate sound but God granted a few moments of peace and that’s when I saw her under the stairs. She is probably 3 months old if I had to guess. A short-hair tortie- very unsocialized. Did someone get her for an early gift and lose her? I don’t know, I will be canvassing the neighborhood later today- but most people around me detest cats. She won’t let me close so I just put out extra food for her in another location because I know my alphas will try to hurt her if she eats before they are ready for her to. She’s a tiny slip of a thing, so that is what her name is- Slip. I just hope I can get to her quickly. This weather is turning inhospitable fast and she is a short hair not a long-hair like Molly.

Speaking of Molly, she got out of the house last week when Mike was leaving and Fletcher and her got into it right away. I ran outside and broke them up and searched her high and low for a bite wound didn’t find one (until last night) she jumped on my lap and she stank like decay! I hustled her into the bathroom and gave her a bath (which she fought tooth and nail) and found a bite wound abscessing on her back. I debrided it, shaved the hair away and started her on clinidrops. This morning, she smells better and I feel badly that I missed it the first time around- but bite wounds are hard to find on any cat- especially the long-hairs. Since Fletcher initiated the fight, he is fine. She is not a fighter, She was headed out to eat some grass and come right back in the house when he ambushed her. She will be an inside only kitty from now on.

The Slider Scare

This morning, poor Slider found herself trapped when Mike transferred from his wheelchair to his electric lift recliner. As he was lowering the chair to the floor, I heard the most heart-wrenching screams of anguish from a cat and realized one of them was under his chair. I grabbed the controller and started lifting the chair peering behind it as seeing Slider squashed on her midsection near the floor. The minute the chair eased the pressure, Slider scrambled under the bed dragging both her hind legs behind her. My first thought was oh God, she must have a spinal injury.

She was shaking and trembling and drooling and of course in the farthest corner away from me so I couldn’t reach her right away. I just laid down next to the bed and started talking to her, praying she would come over and see me once she recovered her breath. I was able to finally pick her up and looked her over up and down and sideways. I didn’t see visible injuries but I put her inside one of our cages, gave her food and water and about an hour later, she came out and ate a bit and used the pan. I didn’t see any blood being passed, but she was shaky on her back legs and hyperventilating. Right after she ate, she vomited it back up and in the next few hours she started chuffing and choking.

I called my vet and got her in and he examined her and did films. She is bruised on her tummy and her legs although not broken are tender as well. We gave her a pain shot and she has pain medication to take for the next three days. But thankfully, she did not break any bones or crack a vertebrae. No internal bleeding although she has a bit of air bubbles in her belly that the vet said she should pass on her own once they travel through her small intestine.

I am just grateful she is okay because it could of been so much worse. I detest that chair because of the danger it poses and although I know that Mike needs it- I’ve been stuffing the underneath parts with quilts blankets and pillows since it arrived here hoping to deter the kitties from crawling underneath. Guess I didn’t stuff it good enough though.

Adding to the vet bill- but their welfare comes before anything else. She is my pillow sleeper- neck snuggler kitty in the night and I love her bunches! Although she is 8 months old, she weighs only 5 pounds. She was the runt of 7 and is going to be a very petite kitty when she finally grows up.