Friday, April 18, 2014

To hell with Punxsutawney Phil--we've got Pink Mouse

You know summer is coming when Pink Mouse makes it outside.  Hey, even a little stuffed guy's gotta get some fresh air, ya know?

While I'm happy that it is getting warmer, it just means that outside work is gonna start.  Wait! I'm not finished with the inside!  Aw, criminy.

We are making a trip to Em's campus today to start bringing home her belongings.  Hard to believe her freshman year has flown by so fast.  Colin is graduating in a month--wasn't it yesterday that I was sad that he was leaving?  Wow.

Seasons....they are endless. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Dreamcicle from hell

I'm exhausted....mentally and physically.  This cat round-up business is tough because I'm a typical pet-owner and I'm worrying about every little step with this TNR business.  I think it will be key to disconnect emotionally, to go through the motions, and just do the job without "feeling" too much.

I released the four I caught Wednesday morning--to an audience of 4 kitties.  While that was discouraging, I no sooner walked into the office and everyone was telling me of the kitties they saw in the parking lot that still needed to be caught.  I don't fault them--I want them to tell me of what  kitties are out there that I need to trap.  I think I am in for at least 6 more.  Ugh.

The feral kitties are extremely quiet when you catch them.  The wrestle about for a bit, but they feel safer with a towel over the cage and they can relax that way.  In all the transporting I did, never once did I hear a peep--that is the sign of a feral cat versus a stray.  (I'm learning a lot through all of this.)  They are also well-groomed and avoid humans at all costs.

I trapped them and brought them to my sponsor's home Monday. Surgery was Tuesday and I picked them up late Tuesday night.  They needed to be released on Wednesday--which had me worried.  I was afraid that wasn't enough time to recuperate, but it is actually more dangerous for them to be in captivity longer than that. They fight the cage when they are feeling better, so you have to let them go as soon as possible.

I wasn't so confident about that part, so I made extra sure they were ready on Wednesday  morning--and they were.  Mostly, they were just p* I guess they were ready to go. I felt better knowing they had some spunk going back out into their kitty 'hood.

I trapped this orange kitty--it was one that I had never seen before.  It was very tiny...and very angry.  My sponsor checked out all the kitties before surgery...making an assessment if any of the kitties could be rehabilitated.  "Small Orange" nearly bit her arm off according to her follow-up email---VERY FERAL was the diagnosis, which made me laugh.  Damn thing looked like a little Dreamcicle---and here it was so freaking dangerous!  I had to use the pliers to open his cage--I wasn't getting my fingers anywhere near that guy.

So, I found their lair with the help of the maintenance manager and I will be spending the next few Mondays trapping while I'm at work.  Fortunately their lair is right outside an office window--I can check the traps all day and leave work if I should catch more.  I am very determined....still.  I'm sure I will reach a point where I won't be....but not just yet.

In a side-note....Hobbes was in the yard with us yesterday and a stray gray cat appeared around the corner.  He freaked out...I chased it, yelling "Get outta here, you!  I've got a trap and I'm not afraid to use it!"

I guess I'm toughening up a bit.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Trapper Lin

Well, we did it.  We trapped 4 of the feral cats in the colony at work yesterday.  I'm not entirely sure, but I think there are 2 more cats that still have to be trapped.  It was a lot harder than I originally thought it was going to be.  Rain was a huge deterrent.

To be clear (and to bring everyone up to speed here...), I am taking part of a Trap, Neuter, and Release (TNR) to stop the feral cats at work from continuing to breed.  Joe and I went to a really great meeting last week to learn how to do it, and so, yesterday was D-day.  Triple R Pets is our sponsor, mentor and support in this process. Please check out their website here.

I set off for work at my usual hour--the only difference is that the back of my car was loaded with 8 baited traps and a tub of tuna in oil/sardines/cat food mixture.  G'ma Phyl joined in the fun, pulling her car next to mine....and there we sat for the next few hours....talking about everything under the sun....and waiting for a cat to show up.

Dang, it's hard to get those cats to hit the trap triggers!  We sat there for hours until the rain stopped and the cats came over to check out the traps.  And then it was heart-stopping excitement willing those kitties in to the traps....and to hit the triggers.  It seems like forever until that metal door snaps shut, let me tell ya.    Sometimes is works...sometimes it doesn't.  I've learned that feral kitties are very smart...especially in the area of traps. Ugh.

While this was very rewarding, it is also very emotional.  I was sniffling when the rain wouldn't stop and we wouldn't see a kitty, more or less trap one.   Then we finally trapped one--the momcat that I really wanted to get--and then I cried because I was so happy to get her.  G'ma Phyl and I both sobbed when we got two cats at once (dueling traps)  and then cried again when we snagged a little orange kitty that I didn't even know existed.

The kitties are off for surgery today and will be released to their home on Wednesday.  For a donation of $30/kitty, each kitty will receive:
  • spay or neuter
  • microchip recorded with Triple R Pets
  • antibiotics
  • 3 year rabies and distemper shots
  • parasite control
 It was a good day...a LONG day, but a happy one too.  It's good to know that we got these kitties some treatment for URI's, plus making sure there are no more kittens to be born.

I want to thank all of you for your support and encouragement.  It was really tough to get this going, make the extra effort to get training and prepared...and then spend an entire day sitting there trying to get this kitties in for treatment.  I think the next one will be easier because I know what to expect.

The best part--they did not force me to name the kitties.  In the end, they understood my reasoning and we worked together to create great identifiers for the kitties so that we can keep records on the colony.  There isn't a Fluffy, Mopsy or Cottontail in the bunch.

Pet Sematary

I dunno, maybe there is a secret vibe around my house lately that if you are a dead or dying animal, this is the place to be.  Criminy.

I went out the other morning to top off the pond before I left for work....and found this by the hose. Scared the bajeezus outta me.  And no, he is not napping. Nope. He is dead as a doornail.

I have no idea how or why this raccoon died here.  He didn't appear injured, but there was a lot of body fluids on the patio--I don't know what that means.  Well...I do, sorta--it means it was messy to clean up.  Ugh.

We have a really nice yard.  We have a nice green lawn, some lovely gardens, and a cool pond.  I feed the birds and put out suet for the woodpeckers.  Somebody, please tell me why this yard has turned into the Dead Zone this year. 

Maybe I don't want to know.

I just hope this death streak ends.  The carcass crew (Joe)  is getting tired of packing up dead animals.  I'm just getting tired of finding them.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Help....otherwise known as "Grace of Solidarity"

What is it about plastic-covered furniture and upheaval in the house?  Grace was in her kitty glory when we repainted recently.   I was afraid she was gonna suffocate and die as she laid, happily, under all that plastic.  I'd dig her out, only to find her purring away under there.  I think she was disappointed that I made her come out.

We used to be able to paint,  oil the furniture, hand-wash the floors and baseboards and put the room back together in a day, but no longer.  Nope. The old bones dictated that this is now a 2-day job--which means Joe and I had to find other places to crash for the night.

I snagged the last remaining free bed--Em's room--as Colin's had all the bedding stacked on his.  (NOTHING goes on the floor because Grace will pee on it.)  Joe camped out on the couch in the family room.  This meant huge fun for the kitties--they were thoroughly discombobulated.  It took them hours to quit running around like fools and settle in for the night.

I love that Grace.  I turned over in Em's twin-size bed...only to find her tucked behind my legs, all snuggled in.  Now, she doesn't sleep with me, never has.  Apparently she appreciated my suffering--or thought Joe and I were fighting--but there she was, sharing this wee bed with me.  She made it very clear who's side she's on.  Gotta love that.

Friday, April 11, 2014

And I shall call you "Squishy"

I've finally decided to TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) the cat colony in the parking lot at work.  I watched that poor cat family struggle this winter and I can't see any more kittens coming into this situation. They have food, water and shelter, but it's hard to see them live such a hard life.  Add in the fact that a few of the office employees are complaining about them....something has to be done.

So, I dragged Joe to a TNR meeting last night.  I had the giggles the minute we walked in....

Let's just say the room looked like a Crazy Cat Lady meeting.  Everyone was abuzz about their colonies--talking about this cat or that one.  Joe just looked at me with that what-have-you-gotten-me-into-this-time kinda look.  I just laughed.

The presentation was thorough, informative, and very dramatic.  They really don't have to make their case for this program, as we were all there to join in the fight against unwanted and homeless kitties.  There are some troubling facts about doing this, but ultimately it reduces the number of cats out on the streets--so you have to take the good with the bad.  I'm okay with that.

There are rules to be followed, forms to be completed and this is going to take some work on my part.  I was good with everything until they told me that I had to name the cats.  I'm not doing that.

I do not name non-pets--it is my way of disconnecting emotionally from the animals I care for.  Fish, frogs, squirrels, birds and such--they do not get names.  That way, when I see them half-eaten on the lawn, I feel bad, but they are not my pets, per se.  It helps me to just release the emotional tie to animals that are in the wild around my home.  I cannot protect them like a pet, so I don't treat them like pets. That includes names.

When I balked at issuing names, the crowd grew angry.  Oh my.  They were mad that I wasn't adopting this family of kitties as my own...that I wouldn't identify them with cutesy names and monikers.  When I tried to explain why...they were not nice.  The TNR rep explained that they need identifiers for records, I told her I understood, but my cat's "names" would be #1, #2, #3 and so on.  There were audible gasps in the room.  It was nutty.


So, I guess I've got a project ahead of me next week.  I'm gathering traps this weekend and planning how best to do this.  I've got great support from this group, but it's me having to do the actually trapping and transporting.

Wish me luck.  Send me some positive vibes that I can do this.  But, don't send me name suggestions, okay?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

You'd almost think I miss that damn dog

Seriously.....the neighborhood has been quiet.  Too quiet.  Like the-other-barky-dog-is-out-there-by-itself-and-it's-not-barking kinda quiet.  Yip Yap's dog friend is out there looking at us and not barking. Yip Yap's barking always got that one going too....and it's awfully quiet.  Well, actually "nicely" quiet.  You know what I mean.

Can it be?  Really?  After, I dunno....a cabillion years....that beastly barking dog is dead? 

Oh. My. Gosh.  I may throw a party. Is it appropriate to throw a "Yip Yap is Dead Party?"

I think so.  It's been a long, long time coming.