All posts by marilyn jaye lewis

writer, editor, publisher, thinker -- all-around joyful gal!

Good morning, glories!

As promised!! A much-anticipated photo of another one of my cats!!


Wait, no. That wasn’t what I promised, was it? But let me first tell you how ridiculously hard it is to get a photo of Lucie, so you are really blessed today. She is semi-feral and will run like the blazes from anyone holding a camera, even if the camera looks like a harmless iPhone.

The above photo was taken with said iPhone, from pretty far away, which is why it is so blurry, blown up like this. You’ll probably just have to take my word for it that Lucie is one gorgeous cat.  She is 15 months old, and I’m hoping that as the years go by, she might grow to be tame. I’m not holding my breath, but we can always hope.  Because hope is what, gang? That’s right:  It is 100% FREE!!

A quick update on the halogen lamp. It appears to be completely dead. So one of these days here soon, I will have to break down and buy a new floor lamp. I hate to do it because I will be moving to a new house sometime within the next year and I hate to decorate an entire house around a single floor lamp, so my other option is to just spend good money on a really boring lamp that will blend into any future decor down the road.

In the meantime, though, I have a ton of reading to do for school this week, not to mention I have a play I have to write, and I really can barely see a thing here in this cave of a room.

Okay, I promised yesterday to help you with the flea problem you might be having right now with either your feral colony, or just your regular house cats. There are two ways to go: chemical or natural, and I recommend combining both if you can tolerate chemicals at all.

First, if the problem is indoors, vacuum. Then, use this miracle spray!!

KnockOut E.S.
KnockOut E.S.

It is a little expensive so check online for a good price. Right now, California Pet Pharmacy has it on sale for $14.50 plus shipping, for 16 oz., which is a great price. My vet charges $27 plus tax. But this stuff is the BEST.  You spray it on everything, let it dry (about 20 minutes or so) and then everyone, including pets, can go back into the sprayed area. You don’t need to cover things, you don’t need to vacate the premises for hours. It lasts for 7 MONTHS, and even if eggs hatch in the area, new fleas will not live.

It is not an overpowering chemical smell, either. The smell goes away pretty quickly. If you are dealing with an indoor infestation, it is still best to vacuum at least once a week.

Next, dealing with fleas on cats. With ferals, I recommend Capstar Pills, crushed up in wet food, at least once  a week. They are flavorless. The cats will eat the food and not eat around the medication. (Here is a link to 1800petmeds, but they are slightly higher than what my vet charges, so check with yours.)


This will get expensive, but these pills kill any living fleas on the cats within an hour. It does not kill eggs or prevent further infestation, which is why it gets expensive. But if you can afford to give them the pills once a week, within 6 to 8 weeks you can get the infestation under control. But you have to make sure that the area they live in has also been sprayed, to help prevent further infestation.

I also recommend crushing up a brewer’s yeast w/garlic tablet for cats in their food everyday. A lot of people will warn against the garlic, but the garlic is in trace amounts, and really what you’re weighing it against is a constant flea and/or tick infestation on the cats for the rest of their lives, which isn’t any healthier. The tablets are really affordable and the cats love the taste of them.

These things work, gang. But you’ve got to be vigilant with a long-term repellent method, like the brewer’s yeast w/garlic pills daily. The reason I can only recommend the chemical approach with ferals is because the spray and the capstar pills do not require getting anywhere near the cats themselves. If you deal with ferals you know that it is impossible to get close enough to them to apply anything to their fur, let alone –[insert uproarious laughter here] — give them a bath!

Tomorrow, I’ll post about the natural products that work well for my tame house cats.  In the meantime, have a terrific Tuesday, gang, wherever you are!! Thanks for visiting.


The world of cats

I know that in many ways, I am a hopeless cliche. I am a writer, a female, and I love cats. (I love all animals, but that inches outside of the cliche, for the moment.)

If you are new to this new blog that I’ve had for about 6 minutes, you don’t know the history of why I have so many darn cats.  I’m not going to go into the whole drama of it right now, but to sum it up: A neighbor abandoned a litter of three kittens and then moved away. The kittens took up residence in my backyard 2 summers ago. I was finally able to rescue the kittens and bring them indoors just before Christmas that year, but they used the cozy warmth of being indoors at Christmas to surprise me with two litters of feral kittens before I could trap them and get them to the vet to be fixed.

Last summer was a nightmare of feral, mostly unadoptable kittens. Even though I had gotten all of them fixed, gotten them all their shots, got them injected with those chips in case they got loose, etc., feral kittens, in constant contact with feral parents, become feral the longer you keep them, no matter how much you handled them as babies. Okay. Very long story short; rather than opting to have them all euthanized, I chose to keep the unadoptable ones with me and give them a loving home and a good life.

Now, of course, I can’t imagine life without them.  They are beautiful, personable, and whacky. And all are in various stages of becoming less feral. It occurred to me, though, that since this is the height of unadoptable-kitten season, maybe I should post some of the sanity-saving things I learned about life with feral kittens and cats.

Over the next couple days, I will post things I’ve learned that could make your life a lot easier if you are in that situation of having a bunch of kittens you weren’t planning on, especially feral ones.

I will start by saying : RESIST THE URGE TO PUT KITTENS (or any other small animals) UP FOR FREE ADOPTION ON CRAIGSLIST!! Please, please, please investigate any and all other agencies . Kittens and other small animals are used as bait in illegal dogfights. Keep them clear of craigslist, unless you personally screen every single person wanting to adopt a kitten, and get check-able references, then check them. Preferably, even take the kitten to its new home yourself, to be extra sure it is going to a real new home.

That said… Today, I’ll start with the most important step: Trapping. Either go to Home Depot and buy a raccoon-sized humane trap, or see if you have an animal hospital or cat rescue agency in your area that will let you borrow traps from them. Each trap costs about $50, so if you borrow a trap from someone, return it when you’re done.

Don’t feed the kittens or cats. Place the trap in an area where they commonly go. Bait the trap — what worked best for me were pieces of rotisserie chicken, or boneless sardines packed in oil or water. Set the trap and place the bait at the far inside end.

I had the most luck when I draped the trap with a bed sheet. Cover the entire trap, except the entryway, with an old sheet.  This helps keep the cat from becoming completely terrified once the trap springs and they are stuck inside it.  It also keeps them from lashing out at you from inside the cage. I learned this the hard way. I absolutely recommend a bed sheet.

You know, even if you have tame house cats that are afraid to go to the vet, draping a sheet or towel completely over their carrier once you get them in it, will calm them way down, right away.

Hopefully, you have an ASPCA or cat rescue agency in your area that can help you get the cats fixed at little or no cost to you.  Usually they include rabies shots and ear tipping for ferals. The ear tipping is for ferals that will be returned to the wild. A tiny nick in their ear will let people know those cats have already been spayed/neutered and will not reproduce.

That’s the basic first step. My next post will be about fleas. If you’re dealing with fleas right now, you’re probably wishing I was already posting about it, but I will come back ASAP and do that!  I do actually have a life beyond my cats.

Meanwhile, keep calm and check out this most recent photo of Huckleberry — the first kitten who came to visit 2 years ago, and the cause of it all!


Ah, the frustration of the writing life!

Of course I’m referring to the much-needed, very bright halogen floor lamp that I desperately need to see by while I sit here at my otherwise dark little desk — and, as all halogen floor lamps go, they eventually get to that stage where they come on when and if they feel like it!

Mine is at that stage.  I say prayers over this thing: “Please, God, let the light come on. I need it so badly right this very minute!” And then it either comes on or it doesn’t. But mostly, it comes on, and it is the best light to write by. Which is why I keep putting off buying a new one.

But today, when I had a whole day set aside to work on the Pearl Bailey play I’m writing, did it come on? Did I pray a lot? Did I get very frustrated and then try calming down and ignoring it, to see if ignoring it would work better?  Did it stay overcast and rainy today, to make it doubly-hard to see anything at my desk? Has the light yet come on??

Answers: No. Yes. Yes. And yes. And no.

It doesn’t keep me from working on the play, but not being able to see does add a bit of tension that I could do without. I’m at one of those spots in the play where I sit and stare at blank space on the page, wondering what the heck is going to fill it. Some sort of English language words, no doubt, but that’s about as much as I can guess right now. So any additional tension is not exactly welcome right this minute.

On other writing fronts, though, the TV pilot I wrote seems to really have some legs. I will of course keep you posted, gang, but it really is starting to look like it is going to get made. Honestly.

And on that happy note, have a great rest of your Sunday, wherever you are! Thanks for visiting, gang. See ya real soon.

Oh,  I leave you with a photo of a cat — just ’cause I’ve got an awful lot of them!


Better late than never

I had the most amazing July 4th weekend. Here are some photos of the backyard, prior to the guests actually arriving for the cookout. And I will follow those photos with a photo of one of my cats!

Cookout with no people
Cookout with no people


cookout with more "no people"
cookout with more “no people”


Cookout with still more "no people"
Cookout with still more “no people”


Yes, that's right: no people, yet, at the cookout!
Yes, that’s right: no people, yet, at the cookout!


And a much promised photo of a cat -- this is Tommy
And a much promised photo of a cat — this is Tommy. She wants you to go away… Right now. Seriously, go.

Still trying to figure this out

I am still trying to figure out how to use this template. In fact, yesterday, I spent a long time putting a gallery together, a carousel of images, mostly of my many cats. Yet, um, do you see it anywhere??? So frustrating! At least an hour wasted.

Luckily, I don’t have anything interesting to say right now, so it’s not like I would have spent that time blogging about something priceless.  But I did want to let you know that I haven’t forgotten my promise to start blogging more consistently again; I just can’t figure out the bells and whistles.

Today, I will leave you with this, gang — me and Fluffy from Sunday afternoon.

Me & Fluffy thermal
Me & Fluffy thermal