Sunday, October 16, 2016

We're Celebrating National Feral Cat Day - Oct. 16

Ivy looking in from the deck. She left us last summer at age 17.

Today is the 10th Annual National Feral Cat Day sponsored by Alley Cat Allies to create awareness of the feral or community cats living in our midst.  This years theme is All Cats All Communities. To meet the post poster cats Inky, Pearl and Pie click here.

As most of you know by now, our cats are feral cats that were living in the woods behind our farmhouse in the mountains of western NC when we moved in 1999.  Back then most animal shelters euthanized feral cats thinking that was the best way to deal with them.  Ally Cat Allies was the only national group that offered TNR (trap, neuter, return).  I found this group online and contacted them about the best way to help our feral cats. 

With Alley Cat Allies brochures and instructions in hand, I trapped  over 30 cats for TNR.  I found a great veterinarian in our neighborhood who worked with me to get them all spayed/neutered.  Dr. Farmer did the spay/neuter for the local Humane Society (the one who were going to put my cats down) so she gave me their discount.  She was a life saver.  Dr Farmer explained that she drove by these cats every day and felt so bad for them but without consent or assistance from the neighborhood, she was at a loss how to deal with this.  That's where I came in.

The first shelter of straw bales.

It was an ongoing project for about a year or so but we got the cats all neutered.  I built a straw bale igloo as a shelter for the first winter with straw on the ground inside for warmth and a plastic tarp over the top to keep it dry.  That shelter progressed to an old kitchen counter that my husband insulated and out fitted for the cats with a flap door and a raised platform for feeding.

The screen porch on the present cat house.

We had a huge garden on our land and the feral cats kept the garden free of voles, mice and other pests.  They did not let people come too close but I would leave toys for them to pay with - catnip filled ones and balls.  Their favorite was  a plastic Easter egg - it would roll over the grass and was light enough for them to bat around. 

Our neighbors all knew about the cats so would keep an eye on them for us.  Unfortunately other people began to drop off unwanted cats here thinking we would care for them.  We did.  They were trapped and taken to the Dr farmer, then either rehomed if they were tame or released back into the group neutered.

The director of the local shelter did come by one day to see how things were going and was very surprised at how healthy the cats looked.  She had felt that because they had no home, their lives must be so miserable, they would be better off dead.  She came away from this visit with a different perspective on feral/community cats.

Woody on our deck.

Woody now

Many of my original feral cats have gone to the Rainbow Bridge. Those left are living the best life indoors with us in our new home an hour and a half from the farmhouse where they all were born.  Even though the ferals were taken indoors at a late age, they have tamed up quite well with a lot of effort and love.

Please help feral cats in your community today and every day by volunteering for a local feral cat group if there is one, donating money or food for the cats.  Thanks to Alley Cat Allies, so many towns and cities have TNR groups now whereas when I began it was not the norm.  For other ideas about how to help the ferals visit here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Happy Gotcha Day to Mamacita and Rosa - Remembering Manny

Rosa in the front and Mamacita in rear

Mom almost forgot that today was two special girl's Gotcha days - Rosa and her momcat Mamacita.  They have come a long way since we took them inside 11 years ago - but still run and hide when things get busy at the house.

Mamacita was a tiny little cat sneaking over to the back door of our old house, 11 years back to eat whatever the feral cats left.  Mom put a special dish out for her and before she knew it, Mamacita moved two tiny kittens over to the neighbor's rickety old shed.  They were wild wild wild but would come out for food.  The kittens both had URIs so Mom set a kennel cage out to catch them and their mom to bring them inside.  Rosa and her brother Manny had to have antibiotics and eye ointment for weeks. It got so they hated to see Mom and would run from her.  We can't blame them.

Mamacita on the left, with Rosa and Angel Manny on right

Mamacita and Rosa are our shyest cats and often don't come out when there is lots going on.  They prefer quiet.  They love to be petted and to eat (heehee you can see that from their sizes.) 

An old pic of Rosa and Angel Manny

Angel Manny loved to play with the laser light toy and would snuggle with the best of them as long as it was another cat. We lost  our beloved Manny, from a very serious urinary blockage when he was two, but he is forever in our hearts

Angel Georgie and Angel Manny snuggling in our old house. We miss them both.

Thank you for stopping by to wish them a Happy Gotcha Day! 


Thursday, September 22, 2016


Today is Remember Me Thursday set up by the Helen Woodward Animal Center to shine a worldwide light on orphan pets  waiting for their forever homes and for those who never made it out of the shelters to a home.

Angel Yoko

As most of you know, our kitties were formerly feral cats or strays that I rescued over the years.  Our Angel Yoko was the only one we adopted from the Naples FL Animal Control as a tiny kitten.  She was the light of our lives until she passed at the ripe old age of 20 in 2013.  She lives on in our hearts.

We are fortunate in our area to have  wonderful no kill shelters for homeless pets.  Brother Wolf Animal Rescue does tremendous work helping people find ways through their community outreach program to keep from surrendering their dogs and cats.

Senior Annie is available for adoption
Another no kill rescue, Boxer Butts and Other Mutts works mainly with shelter or rescued dogs in need of medical attention.  They provide care and love for however it long it takes to get them healthy enough to be adopted out.  Both groups have Facebook pages to keep you updated on the latest.

Duncan is available for adoption

On September 22, 2016, let’s get the entire world talking about pet adoption, so the world can shine a light on all orphan pets waiting in shelters and rescues right now.  To remember your adopted pets, light a virtual candle  on the Remember Me Thursday web site here.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Meow Like a Pirate Day

This day be made fer me. Me moniker be Dread scurvy pirate Snowball Flint 'n I be th' baddest bucko around. Ladies swoon at th' mention 'o me moniker 'n men run fer fear I gunna pull out me sword.  T' last wench port her heart on me arm! See fer yerself.

Come on th' poop deck me ship Th' Dark Lust 'n I gunna regal ye wit' tales to curl ye toes 'o all me adventures on th' high seven seas. Don't pay no mind to me faithful trusty parrot Torgay - he be tame unless I shout th' word.

I gunna spin yarns 'o me travels to far off places, th' ships I plundered 'n th' wenches I loved. If I like ya enough I will give you a clue t' where me treaaye chest full o' jewels and gold be buried! 

 I be th' scurvy pirate 'o band 'o pirates 'n none gunna ever top th' likes 'o me. Away with t' unless ye be a lady - you can meet me in me quarters! Avast Matey!!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Aug. 28 - Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day 2016

On our second annual Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day we want to honor  those beloved animals who came into our lives, changed them and left indelible marks on our souls for however short or long they were with us.  Thank you to Deb Barnes of Zee and Zoey blog fame, for hosting this special day.


Because this is such a hard post to write, I am reposting the copy from last year and adding a few more names to it.  I have lost so many cats (and dogs) over the years with more to go as they age.  This, to me, is the only drawback of rescuing animals. But with each heartache comes a special gift or lesson that each animal has for us.

Micky and me

I have a few memories of my mother's dog, Micky, a purebred cocker spaniel who passed when I was a toddler.  My mother told me so many stories of him that I feel like I did know him.  She was so worried about bringing me home after having Micky as the only dog/child for so long but Micky took me in like his own.  He would sit outside my room and howl when Mom let me cry myself to sleep.  I fed him off my plate from my high chair so he got lots of goodies.  I would lay with my head on him, sukcing my thumb and rubbing his fur.  Micky developed cancer in his final years.  His gift to me was his unconditional love.


I had one dog Bunny, a cocker/poodle/terrier mix, when I was a teenager who died at age 11 of cancer.  She was extremely intelligent, funny and energetic.  She taught herself to alert me of any new sounds in the house if I was home alone since I was hearing impaired.  She left me her gift of exuberant joy.

My first cat didn't come into my life until Chica, who found me in Florida in 1991.  Maybe because she was my first, she was my heart and soul cat.  Yoko join us two years later and then in 1998 we moved to the North Carolina mountains and my work with feral cats began.


I worked with a local vet to trap, neuter and release the ferals living in a colony in the woods behind our farmhouse.  So many were not even named, their lives with us were so brief, as it often is with ferals. Bob and Leroy just vanished on different days when they were both about six months old.  I have to think that some wild animal got them.  The ones that survived and thrived became a part of our lives and as they aged we took them into our home.

Momma Kitty was the first to leave us in 2003 on my birthday.  She had been ill during a really hard winter but had eluded my attempts to catch her.  When I did, we took her to the vet and he said she was just days away from dying.  He body was filled with tumors.  We let her go surrounded by our love. She left behind her nurturing peaceful nature.

Big Guy, the cow cat and Nick

After two hurricanes blew through our town in early fall 2004, I noticed Big Guy, the head feral mancat was getting weaker as the days went by.  He lay limp on the second level of the feral shelter we built, unable to move.  I rushed him to the vet but there was nothing we could do - his huge benevolent heart was giving out.  He died peacefully in my arms, the only time I was ever able to hold him.  Big Guy taught me compassion and benevolence, watching him rule over his beloved colony.


Two weeks later our most recent addition Clarence, a regal stray who wandered into our yard, not part of the colony, died in his sleep under the bedroom chair with a faint glimmer of a smile on his face.  He lived with us just 18 months and had been ill for the last six.  At least he knew our love  for a short time. He showed us how to live with dignity no matter what our circumstances.


Nick, one of the few ferals still outside at this point, became ill so we took him inside and nursed him.  He had lymphoma and  left us in 2006. Nick's gift to us was his eternal goofiness and love of play. Manny, Mamacita's son, followed him a few months into 2007 after a vet badly handled a urinary blockage.  He was only two years old.  This was getting harder to lose so many but we did have a few years of health and longevity.


My main man Joey left us for the Bridge in 2012 suffering from cancer.  He was the one cat welcome committee to all newcomers. He was a gentle boy who loved everyone. Everything was a wonderfully fun  to him. He left us his zest for life.

Then we come to the hardest loss - my dear Chica who lived to be 22 years old.  I didn't want her to leave and I guess she didn't want to either.  She passed from heart issues on my birthday in March of 2013.  She was a part of me like no other cat could ever be.  We went through so much together.  A piece of me died with her but I know she lives on in my heart.  She taught me to speak up for what I want.  She never lacked for anything - she just took it.  She made me smile.


Yoko was the quiet one and her favorite was my husband. She was our Buddha cat - doing everything very slowly, methodically and focused.  She ate deliberately, savoring and chewing every bite.  She even made biscuits slowly, with her eyes closed in a blissed out state of contentment. We lost her to oral cancer in December of 2013.  Being with her, taught us patience - to sit, and not rush around, to be still and savor each moment.


Lily was another loss that was almost too hard to bear.  She was our mother figure - giving birth to all the white cats before we could trap her.  Even while living in the house with us she was forever caring for us - sitting with us when we were not well, ever on the alert to noises and the goings on of the other cats.  We lost her at age ten to oral cancer in April of 2015.  Her gift was her love and caring.


My sweet Ivy left this world suddenly on July 27, 2015 at age 17 after throwing a blood clot in her hind leg.  I still hear her funny quack and look for her in the TV console, expecting her to be napping on the receiver snug and warm. She was funny, silly and loved to play.  Everything about her was comical.  She left a big hole in our hearts.  Her gift was the laughter and smiles she brought to us all.


Shortly after Ivy left us, Minnie was diagnosed with late stage renal failure and succumbed in October 2015.  She was a curious intelligent and mischievous cat, always getting into something.  She loved boxes or any tiny space she could get into for that matter. . She loved to play and did everything with such abandon.  Minnie gave us the gift of living in the now, this moment to the fullest.  She was chock full of joie de vivre and it spilled over into our lives


In November of 2015 I heard a knock on my door.  It was a neighbor asking me if I had seen her cat Jack.  He vanished without a trace and has not been seen since.  Even though he was not our cat, he spent so many days in our yard with us, entertaining us, hunting and being his silly self.   Jack, as a cat, did swagger through a fun, exciting, adventure filled life. I often feel his spirit with me as I hike his woods.  He left us his love of adventure.


And finally, our Georgie, age eight,  was the last to go to the Rainbow Bridge in December 2015 from complications from hepatic lipidosis. She had developed diabetes in late fall of 2014.  The vets treating her were never able to find the correct insulin dose to keep her stable.  She was in the hospital more than out for the year she lived after the diagnosis.  Even with all this turmoil in her life Georgie's gift to us was her patience, sweetness and trusting nature.  She calmly let me do all the diabetic procedures to her without a fuss.  Her vets loved her for always letting them do their job.  She was like water, bending and flowing with life's daily movements, always unflappable, unperturbed.

We miss you all dear ones and know that you will be there at the Rainbow Bridge to greet us when we arrive.  Until then, we will see you in our dreams.



Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin

Please Follow posts don't always show in Google Reader so check in with us often!