Tag Archives: feral cats

A complete success

As loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall, not only is today St. Paddy’s Day, it’s also the birthday of all 8 of the feral cats who allow me to live with them. The “kittens” are 4 today, and the 3 parents are 5.

This morning they all got toys and a special breakfast. The toys were a huge hit and — judging by the 8 little faces buried in their food bowls until the bowls were empty — so was the breakfast!

Here’s the living room floor when playtime had subsided:

Daddycakes and Huckleberry after the birthday madness had subsided.

Okay. Cannot tarry here today. The re-writes on the Cleveland’s Burning script are complete, however, the show bible is requiring a lot more revisions than I had anticipated, so I gotta scoot.

Oh, and I’m not sure if this is an official announcement yet or not, but SomethingDark, out of Bristol, England, will be publishing my memoirs. We are getting closer and closer to finalizing that, so that is inching ever upward onto my plate. It’s exciting. I’ll keep you posted.

All righty, gang. Have a great St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! Thanks for visiting. See ya.

 

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Birthdays on the horizon!

I know, I know! You keep coming to visit the blog and I keep not being here!

That’s only because I am ALMOST, ALMOST, ALMOST done with the re-writes on the Cleveland’s Burning TV pilot script! Hallelujah!!

I did want to quickly mention here, though, that this coming Friday is not only St. Paddy’s Day,  but also the birthdays of all 8 (!!) of my little critters!

No, they’re not getting this:

Cat in the Hat birthday cake!

But they will be getting treats and special presents!! In anticipation of the great day, Weenie got very relaxed! Here he is with his mom, Huckleberry — and his sister, Doris, up there behind the pillow…

Weenie, getting ready to be 4 !!

As always, if you click on the photo, it gets larger.

Okay, gang. More on the birthday stuff later this week. I seriously gotta scoot! Thanks for visiting! See ya’ real soon!

 

R.I.P. Cleo & Charlie

Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that I have written here many times over the years of my good friend Val in Brooklyn, who pens the Paws for Thought Comic strip.

She & I have been great friends since 1982, and we are collaborating on an illustrated mystery book series, The Miracle Cats. The first installment will be titled The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport.  We started working on the book well over a year ago. It was going quite well until all sorts of tragedies and extreme challenges began popping up in both our lives, including numerous deaths, and so the writing/illustrating of the book went down to slower than a snail’s pace.

Well, earlier this week, another tragedy struck! 2 of Val’s cats died in the same afternoon.  Charlie had been diagnosed with cancer about one year ago. In fact, my cat, Fluffy, was diagnosed with cancer a month or so after Charlie had been, but Charlie outlived Fluffy by 5 months.

Val and I have a long history of adopting and/or rescuing cats. In fact, way back in 1983, Val rescued a little black & white kitten who lived around the train tracks in Long Island City, out in Queens, NY, where Val lived back then. Val brought the kitten to live with me in my apartment in Manhattan. I named her Kitty, and she was a sickly kitty, but she lived to be 18 years old! And a very dear companion to me. She passed on December 13th, 2001.

Anyway. I digress. Val rescued Charlie as a teeny kitten. In fact, she rescued his whole family! Cleo, the mom, had 2 tiny kittens (Charlie and Pickles) and I believe they were all sort of sickly,  barely surviving under a freeway overpass in Brooklyn. This was 15 years ago. And, although Charlie was expected to die at any moment because of the cancer, his mom, Cleo, who seemed fine and healthy, wound up dying suddenly on the same afternoon as Charlie did. Completely unexpected and so very sad. Losing 2 furry friends in one day, and of course, leaving a 3rd cat, Charlie’s sibling, Pickles, to mourn the sudden loss of a whole family.

Val has several other cats, as well as a rescued dog, and many ferals that come and go in her backyard sanctuary in Brooklyn, yet it is still so sad to lose any members of our families, regardless of how many critters there are! My heart goes out to all of them.

One of these days, things will finally calm down. The clouds will pass, the sun will shine, and we’ll finally finish creating The Miracle Cats! But in the meantime, we ponder the loss and the very meaning of life, even as life goes on. Thanks for visiting, gang.

Cleo and Charlie, in the early years.
Cleo and Charlie, in the early years.

 

Spiders as the thoughts of God

Yes, we’re back to the subject of spiders — for a moment.

It was actually a sort of “non-stop spider summer” around here this year, but I decided not to write about it constantly, since readers prefer posts about cats over posts about spiders.  However, my life seems to abound with both.

In the 8 years I’ve lived here, I have never seen as many spiders as I saw this summer.  And since I have a no-kill policy, any spiders that happened to find themselves lounging around in the Great Indoors, eventually had to be escorted back outside by moi. Not a thing I relish doing, since  — if you recall the Brad episode — the spiders this year were super-duper LARGE.

In August, I finally realized that all the flower boxes outside my front windows were completely, thoroughly, and 100 % infested with a busy colony of huge, happy spiders.  This is why they all kept coming inside — they did not differentiate between “flower box in the window” and that great big WELCOME mat in front of the screen door, directly next to them.  “Su casa, mi casa” they would often chuckle, as they persistently made their way indoors to jolt me out of my calm contentment. I have to say, though, that once I realized where they were all coming from, it was really fascinating to watch them in the flower boxes. I just wish they weren’t so creepy looking.

A couple weeks ago, I got up the nerve to get all the window boxes emptied over in the flower beds, so that the spiders could re-locate away from the house, but some of the really big ones still come over and hang out on the front step, or literally on the screen door. It is almost like they are coming to visit me, personally.  They do not run away from me now, even when I am really close to them.

THEY [clinging to the screen door]: “Hey, cutie! Yeah — you! Sorry, I don’t remember your name, but could you come over here and help us with this door? We’re trying to get in.”

If you subscribe to the same theological/philosophical beliefs that I do, that we exist as Thoughts of God, then you will grasp what I’ m trying to say in the title of today’s post.  I believe that our true existence is in the one Mind of God. That we all spring into being from the thoughts God has.  So I have often wondered, this summer, what a spider feels like in God’s mind, and what is God thinking about when a spider springs from His (Its) thoughts? So far, there are 35,000 known species of spiders in the world. Why the heck is that? Such an abundance of creation going on all the time! It is such a liberating thought, you know.

One afternoon in early September, one of the really large spiders (about 2 1/2 inches in length) was sitting on the front step, just staring out at the world. It wasn’t asleep, it was definitely awake, but it was just sitting there, taking it all in, and really at peace.  It never once flinched when I walked past it, and I had to, several times. It just sat there, contemplative, for hours. I know, because I kept checking on it. It left sometime during the night. But it spent a really lovely afternoon just peacefully taking in all of creation from its own inviolate POV. I found that really joyful, you know? It wasn’t afraid of me; it knew I wasn’t planning to hurt it. Proof that when listening to our own true natures we need never be bogged down in anxiety. We can bask in the sunshine, the blue sky, the gentle breeze — and have a fulfilled life.  There is no fear. And having goals and such is just gravy.

I also think about how liberating it must feel to just trail off on a wisp of a web when you want to float off somewhere.  Or how it feels to be able to just spin a cocoon-like little home when you want to settle in and be cozy and safe from the elements.  Spiders really do fascinate me and I wonder why on earth they were created (times 35,000 and counting). I don’t need to know the answer. The question alone speaks volumes about all the things we cannot possibly know.  And it only points to the big question mark of who we are and why.  I’m not sure there’s a knowable answer for that question, either, but whatever that answer might be feels more sacred to me all the time.

Okay, I suppose I will close this and get some work done around here. I’ll leave you with a photo of some other creatures I love, who wandered into my home of their own persistent accord two years ago: Those endearing little redheads, Tom and Huckleberry! Both untamed females! (They’re the best kind of females, don’t you think??)

Okay, see ya, gang! Thanks for visiting!!

Tom and Huckleberry, in the sun room a few minutes ago!
Tom and Huckleberry, in the sun room a few minutes ago!

 

 

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!

Huckleberry
Huckleberry