July 6, 2018

Sometimes Just Trying Our Best Is All We Can Do...

I found this little bugger on my back (outside) stairs. Top step. I'm thinking one of the Space Monkeys put her there from lord knows where. I could have stepped on her.
Irene was doing yard work and called for me to come out and pointed to this little pumpkin. We honestly thought she was dead. Flies, zilch movement.
I was about to put her in a plastic bag when she suddenly took a big breath. I gave her some water with a syringe and took her to the vet. Vet cleaned out her mouth and throat of some goo. He said the next 24 hours will tell.
I gave her a little kitten formula every hour and, when she was not on this heated cozy, I've been cupped her in my hands and gently exhaling warm air on her.
Thanks so much, everybody. Your thoughts and love were so very appreciated. Sadly, the little baby didn't make it through the night. It was getting harder and harder to feed her. She not only didn't have a nursing reflex (which could be one of the tough facts of nature as to why she was abandoned) but then she stopped swallowing altogether.
Take comfort in that she didn't have to leave the world all alone on a cold wet cement stairway. All evening and until a little after midnight, she was warm, dry, cozy and handled with love. I managed to get her core temp back up and she napped and stretched and yawned like any little baby until she was quietly gone.
And she was purring! It says newborns can purr after 6 six days. I guess she was an advanced student. RIP, Little Baby.

March 18, 2018

Elsa died yesterday. I don’t know at what point she came back into the yard but, for quite a while, I thought she was sun-napping on the grass. It wasn’t until I let Grem out for the afternoon that I saw her (Grem) run up to Elsa to patently annoy her. 
Elsa didn’t budge and Grem moved on.
There was no sign of trauma or blood when I examined her, but there are so many dangers out there. Statistics give ferals an average 4-5 year lifespan. The vet estimated her to be 2-3 last year.
I lined a box with a plastic bag and (using big disposable gloves, of course) gently transferred her. I know it’s silly, but I made a nice bed of newspapers for her.*
With all the assistance and moral support of so many of you, we managed to get her through several very harsh winters and give her a home and a family. It’s not lost on us that she wanted to come home before passing away.
For documentation, I took some pics of how I found her. I debated posting one but chose to show her at her best.
* it's ironic that I never got to hold her until she was gone. That's why I was extra respectful while handling her.

March 1, 2018

January 20, 2018

With the recent zero degree temps, snow storms and the addition of the 3 Amigos to the tribe, I resorted to getting real pre-fab cat houses. The ones I built were getting pretty banged up. These are actually cute and provide LOTS of room and adequate roof/couch support that they like. I lined up the front door and back door on each , creating a larger walk through two room shelter.
Some of them don't like the texture of hay, so I stuff the hay into old flannel pillow cases and they work great.
Unfortunately, the thermal tarps keep you from getting a better look at the new shelters, but they are invaluable for increasing the insulation and warmth.
The 3 Amigos are getting big! Here we captured two of them back at the ranch while everybody was out doing important space monkey business.

December 23, 2017

December 8, 2017

November 29, 2017

Ever need just a 1/2 can of cat food? Ever go crazy trying to invent a way to keep the remains sealed? Like me, you've probably done everything from foil to Pringles can tops. I've found that a well cleaned previous can will, of course, fit perfectly and firmly... just like when they are stacked on a shelf. Dogs parents: Let me know if it works with dog food cans, as well. It takes up a little more space but I have a feeling it will.

October 8, 2017

(From October 8, 2016)·
Poor Frankie. He's the Old Man of the tribe now. The first Old Man went off (and probably passed away) two winters ago. Frankie's always been a little punch drunk, like an old time boxer. Somewhere in his head he really wishes he was a house cat, but he knows he'll always be too feral and reluctant around people. However, he sits and watches 'his person' from time to time until my oh so exciting life calmly puts him to sleep.

(Update October 8. 2017)
Frankie disappears for long periods of time. Each time, I have to assume that nature got the better of him. Then, out of the blue, he'll show up for a day, eat, sun bathe and disappear again.
Something, somebody, somewhere is keeping him well off and that's fine with me. My theory is that, according to secret cat calendar, he shows up for the holidays (St Meow Meow Day, Meow Giving, 4th of Meow etc)

September 16, 2017

One less worry. Finally. Working with Little Wanderers got a LOT of good done, but it was taking time and effort away from our own space monkeys outback. With the help of one of our own cage/traps, a gift from Paula in Boston, one of our poster girls, Liza, has finally been taken care of.
Our last benefit from working with the Wanderers was the ability to transport Liza to the ASPCA in Queens for her surgery, vaccinations, worm treatment etc. PLUS it was found she had an ovarian cyst. It was taken care of but it that wasn't included in the free ASPCA deal. 

Humane trapping is not for the faint of heart, especially when you've been working with a feral like Liza for so long. You can't help but feel like you've tricked her and it's very frightening.
Here we see her before and after surgery. The only way you can tell is that there is a little snip off the tip of the left ear. This is to let anybody know that she's already been spayed in case she ever leaves the area.
I hope she doesn't, but right now she's pretty ticked off at me. I have to remind myself of all the benefits she received.

September 11, 2017

Never forgetting. When I drove around North America for three years (95-98), I used to grab anything that was not nailed down (a panel from a cereal box, a hotel room TV card etc), address and stamp it and send it to Paige, just to let her know I was okay.

September 10, 2017

John Hinckley was released one year ago today...

September 9, 2017

Space Monkey Update:
Okay, big news: It was time to see how Grem would do out of the cage. 
She hung around the yard for 5-10 mins. I kept calling her name every minute or so just to remind her I was there.
Then, while I was cleaning the cage, I looked up and she was gone. I looked around. No idea.
She came back once while some of the others were eating. She didn't join them but she remembered where the food was.
My heart was in my throat but this is how it works. There's always a chance a relocated feral may NEVER come back for a myriad of reasons. 
Then she came back again, on her own. I brought down the plate of really good food that was up by the cage.
She was already acting a little 'wilder'. Cautious. Keeping a distance. I didn't push it. But she knew what it meant when I brought down the other plate (then I went inside to watch).
It's key at this point to really lay out a spread of tasty food to help convince the relocated (and somewhat confused and overstimulated) feral that this is Outside Cat Headquarters.
Third time. I went upstairs to steal some of (house cat) Mimi's fussy fancy housecat food and put that out too.
I went to Food Dynasty to get a rotisserie chicken to share but they were all out. I got chicken and gravy baby food instead (this is like crack for cats... especially used in feral kitten training).
She was friendlier and excited to see me. she came up to the door to see me coming and didn't back off much.
I was accepting that this was how things were going to be. Then, as I was picking up the empty dishes... there's Gremnell back in her crate in her bed like nothing happened. 
 So, she's out there right now on the new 'front porch' of her house just as pleased with herself as she can be.
And, if you haven't seen enough cat pics on the internet, here's a quick revisit to the past month with the 10 feral cat rescues. After working with them in post op, all were adopted except for Gremnell, who I took in to care for myself with the rest of my outback tribe.