Tag Archives: feral cats

My Gratitude

I want to thank everybody, even total strangers visiting the blog or on Instagram, who showed love and support yesterday as I tried to cope with the death of Daddycakes.

When cats are feral, they are wild animals. It is so hard to know what to do and exactly when to do it when they are in peril or dying. So these last few days have not been at all fun – watching him suffer but knowing that he still had enough strength in him to attack a doctor.

Anyway, it’s over now and he’s at peace and his little family here is adjusting to his absence, and my friends, as well as total strangers showed me so much love. So that’s how the day is starting out today.

Hopeful.

I haven’t been able to really do too much on the novel since Sunday. But the comments from the editor keep coming in daily and they are making me feel good. Not too much needs changing – negligible grammar things. Yesterday, she said that the writing was poignant and funny like barbed wire.

Since the story is told totally in 2nd person from a man’s POV, and since the woman he is talking to never once says a thing throughout the entire novel, it’s imperative that the man be likable, believable, capable of making you, the reader, feel something. So, comments about how the editor is responding to the character are so important to me.

And so far, so good.  Loyal readers of this lofty blog know by now that Blessed By Light is unlike any novel I’ve written thus far, and it is coming entirely from the realm of the Muse. It’s been a really beautiful adventure.

Yesterday, before everything got horrifically dire with Daddycakes and I had to drop everything and somehow get him situated into the car without the help of any sort of restraint or cat carrying device and drive 30 miles to the veterinarian farther out into the country who was willing to treat a feral cat; before that happened – my new boots arrived.

I love these boots. They are vegetarian-friendly and yet look like leather. They fit perfectly and I just totally love them. And they hardly cost anything because they aren’t made of any sort of dead animal! Anyway, look!!

Okay! On that happy note, I’m gonna get the day underway here, gang. I’m trying like heck to stay focused on the love and just keep going, you know?

The future’s bright and I’ve got nothing but opportunities lining up at my door. I need to stay focused and charitable and generous and loving about the world and being in it. (Although, I have to say that Notre Dame Cathedral going up in flames while Daddycakes was dying was a little more than I could really process yesterday.)

Anyway. Thanks for visiting. I leave you with the song I played over & over in the car yesterday as I tried to keep Daddycakes calm. It worked. (On the trip home, though, without him, it only made me cry so I had to turn it off and just listen to the silence.) Okay. I love you, gang. See ya.

Into My Arms

I don’t believe in an interventionist God
But I know, darling, that you do
But if I did I would kneel down and ask Him
Not to intervene when it came to you
Not to touch a hair on your head
To leave you as you are
And if He felt He had to direct you
Then direct you into my arms

Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms

And I don’t believe in the existence of angels
But looking at you I wonder if that’s true
But if I did I would summon them together
And ask them to watch over you
To each burn a candle for you
To make bright and clear your path
And to walk, like Christ, in grace and love
And guide you into my arms

Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms

But I believe in Love
And I know that you do too
And I believe in some kind of path
That we can walk down, me and you
So keep your candles burning
And make her journey bright and pure
That she will keep returning
Always and evermore

Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms, O Lord
Into my arms

c- 1997 Nick Cave

Me, again

I’ve kept a blog consistently since 1998.

Yes, that was actually years before they coined the word “blog.” I called it my online journal back then, or my way of touching base with my readers.

But in all these years, I have never posted twice in one day. Until today. I am just in such a state.  Watching my little guy die all afternoon. He’s still clinging. The process takes such a long time and at the same time, I don’t want it to end because I don’t want to say the final goodbye.

He’s aware of me, but he’s in his own world.  When I sing to him, his whole body relaxes.

For some reason, it makes me think of my childhood. I have so many memories – stretching back to when I was 6 months old. For some reason, I had many moments of lucidity when I was 6 months old. I can remember all sorts of things.

My earliest memory is of getting onto a plane in Cleveland. My mom holding me in her arms. And for some reason, I remember the stewardess really well. I thought she was so nice. I responded really strongly to her presence. Many years later, my mom could not believe I had that memory. She said, “You were 6 months old! You were screaming almost the whole trip!” Funny, I still don’t remember screaming. I told my mom that I didn’t recall screaming, but that I remembered the stewardess. And then my mom said, “Oh yeah, that’s right. She was able to get you to calm down.”

Anyway, this afternoon, as I laid on my family room floor, next to Daddycakes, I suddenly recalled my first day of kindergarten and how I wasn’t really all that scared of being away from my mom. I recall that I was kind of interested in everything that was going on around me. Which I thought – today – was kind of strange because I was so incredibly shy back then. But then I remembered that I had already been through 2 years of nursery school, and I was definitely not a big fan of that. That was when I was intensely shy.

I remembered that the nursery school sent around one of those VW buses. I remember an older, heavy-set, incredibly cheerful white-haired lady drove the VW. But I did not want to get in it. It pulled up in our driveway in Cleveland and I think I tried to run away. I know my mom had to force me to get into the little bus and go to nursery school. I was crying, I was just so shy and I did not want to be separated from my mom, even for a moment.

It did not go well for me, that first year. The teacher thought I was autistic. Apparently, she was not the first person to say this to my parents. I had a lot of the signs of autism. I don’t remember that they thought I was autistic back then, I only remember the teacher and my mom sitting me down in the empty classroom at the end of a school day, and they both talked to me in earnest about something. They were so terribly emotional about it. I remember honing in on their emotions. I remember them asking me if I understood what they were saying, and I remember saying yes. And I also remember, vividly, that I said yes specifically because I was keenly aware that they wanted me to say yes. I was trying to please them.

Many years later, when my mom was telling me that up until I was 3, they were all worried that I might be autistic, and then she told me about that afternoon in the classroom at the nursery school (which I remembered). Then she told me what she and the teacher were saying to me – about how I had to stop daydreaming all the time, and stop rocking in my seat and singing to myself, and that I had to talk to the teacher more, and to the other kids. Otherwise, I was going to have to leave the school. And then my mom said that I (at 3 years old) said, “okay,” that I would. And she said that the following day, I had completely changed. Overnight. And that from then on, nobody thought I was autistic.

So strange. Not only that I changed overnight, but that I can still remember being 3, and telling them “yes” only because I wanted to please them. And here, my saying yes, meant that I was suddenly never “autistic” again.

It’s funny the things you think about when you’re incredibly sad, trying so hard not to grieve. Grieving a little bit anyway. Thinking about life and what the heck it really is.

I worked quite a bit on the novel today – in between visiting the cat down on the floor.  I got some editing done on it but it’s been slow going. Then I read my online horoscope (Cainer.com, out of the UK — I’ve been reading that horoscope for about 20 years now), and he actually said that even while I have a 5-star Guardian Angel, my Guardian Angel is on a mini-vacation right now. He really said that! So I guess I shouldn’t be pushing too hard for inspiration today…

The only person I spoke to so far today was when I called a male friend of mine and asked him if I could borrow a shovel. Gonna have to bury a cat soon.

Just a sad little day.

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.

 

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