Thursday, November 24, 2016

Remembering Angel Joey on his Gotcha Day



On Thanksgiving day in 2001, Joey showed up for breakfast at the feral cat shelter in our yard with an abscess on his shoulder.  He was being picked on by a bully cat down the street.  After several run ins with this bully, this was the last straw for me, so I set the porch door as a trap for Joey.  When I pulled on the piece of wood tied with a string, the door would shut leaving Joey inside.  He came in willingly for food of course, and I caught him easily.  Freaked out, he spent the day hiding behind the extra refrigerator on the porch. 

Minnie on top of Joeys kennel

My husband and I took turns trying to lure him from his hiding place while we cooked Thanksgiving dinner.  After several hours, Don finally scruffed him and put him in a kennel cage, his temporary home until he got acclimated to being inside.  Minnie, his litter mate, spent the day on or near his cage.  It was a Thanksgiving to remember - trying to catch a feral cat amidst the bustle of preparing a family dinner.

Joey in the back with Mamacita and Rosa


We had eleven wonderful years with Joey but lost him to cancer in 2012 a week after his last Thanksgiving/Gotcha Day celebration.  

I still miss him so very much - he was such a lover boy.  He loved to cuddle with me, especially at night while I read in bed. If there was a pile of cats in a warm spot, Joey was in the middle of it.  



He welcomed each and every new cat we took in with kindness and tolerance.  Even with an aloof cat like Clarence, a stray we took in and only had for 18 months, Joey would groom and sleep by him while the other cats ignored the newcomer. Joey was a pacifist.  I never saw him get rough with any of our cats.  If he was being picked on by a younger cat, he would just walk away.  

Joey and Ivy

He loved to eat and it showed with his big pendulous belly.  While he was still outdoors, one of our neighbors told me he thought the grey tabby was pregnanat.  I said with a smile " I don't think he is."

Joey's poochy belly

He was curious and slipped out one day through a section of the porch floor that was a bit rotted.  Don saw a grey tabby looking in the back door and said "That cat looks a lot like Joey".  I looked inside for Joey and realized that  it was him outside.  Panicking I herded all the cats off the porch so no more could slip out the small  crack in the floor.  It took several hours to lure Joey back inside.  If I went out he would run under the house into the crawlspace.  Fearing he would run away or get hurt overnight, I secured all the cats in our bedrooms and left the porch door ajar again in the same trap I first caught him in.  He fell for it and he was safe inside once more.


Joey loved the sun and would sit next to the window in his last days with us, leaning against the glass and soaking in the warmth.  My animal communicator told me that when I am relaxed at home and feel the warmth of the sun on me, know that Joey is with me in spirit then. 


We lost several other cats from his colony since he passed four years ago so I am sure he is once again surrounded by his litter mates and buddies at the Rainbow Bridge.  


Wishing you a happy Gotcha Day at the Bridge,Joey,  playing and relaxing in the sun with your cat pals. Thinking of you with love until we meet again dear boy.

As a young feral cat
Wishing all our friends a happy holiday weekend.
P.S. Stop by Brian's Home for his Thankful Thursday blog hop!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thankful Thursday and Wildfire Update

Only with Snowball behind snug on the couch in the cat shelter

We wanted to update everyone in case you are not on Facebook or Instagram. One of the wildfires burning in the mountains of North Carolina is very close to us.  Party Rock or Lake Lure fire is about 10 miles away - much closer as the crow flies.  The fact that we are and will continue to be in extreme drought is another cause for concern. (biggify the photos for better viewing)

Photo courtesy of Wildfire Today

Party Rock fire - photo from Chimney Rock Village page


Our home is located on the southern edge of the Hickory Nut Gorge above the town of Bat Cave.  The gorge drops down 1000 feet in elevation to the valley floor where Chimney Rock Village and Lake Lure are located.  The fire started on the north ridge of the gorge near Lake Lure two weeks ago and has traveled up the north ridge encompassing 5700 acres and is 19% contained.  This is a rugged wilderness area and hard to get to so the fire fighters have been focusing on a defense line to save the homes and businesses.  So far no one has been injured and no structures have been lost.

Smoke from fires - Lake Lure  Operations

Chimney Rock Village with fire behind - fromAsheville Citizen Times


We are not in danger at this point and have plans should we have to leave with all the cats.  We have moved all brush and leaves away from the buildings on our land, collected cat carriers and food and are ready to go if we are asked to evacuate.  Our biggest issue is air quality from the smoke.  Some days we are Code Red or Orange.  I am keeping the cats indoors and since I have asthma, I am inside too.
Last week in Lake Lure


The weather forecast is grim - no rain in sight for the next 30 days and a dry warm winter predicted.  The Gov.  said the worst case scenario with no rain/snow, is that the fires will burn until March.  The Party Rock fire may burn itself out in a few weeks.

Courtesy of Asheville Citizen Times

Donations for firefighters at Ingles, Lake Lure


We are thankful we are still at home and in no danger yet. We are so very grateful to all of the firefighters from across the country who are working hard to keep this fire and the multiple other fires in western NC from spreading.  We are thankful to all our caring communities in the region who are donating food, toiletry items and money to the firefighters while they are here.  We know we are in good hands and hope that in the weeks to come things will improve.

Photo courtesy of WLOS

We are asking you all to do whatever you believe in to request rain or snow for our area along with eastern Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia.  Visualize this area blanketed in some form of precipitation putting out all the fires. Keep us all in your thoughts!

Tabitha and Woody know they are safe


Thank you friends! Be sure to stop by Brian's Home for Thankful Thursday.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Happy Gotcha Day to Callie and Snowball!


Me Snowball


Hi everyone, it is me Snowball hosting today for my 10th Gotcha Day.  Since Callie was Gotcha'd on Nov. 1 three years ago and me on Nov. 2, I am being gracious enough to share the day with her.

It has been an uneventful year for me so that is good - no health issues or anything. Well, there was one thing.  I did have an acupuncture session or two for my megacolon a few months ago and it helped. Our cat house has only six other cats besides me now so it is nice and roomy with just the few of us. Al is still trying to be top cat but all the others know that cat is ME!  Let Al think what he wants as long as he doesn't mess with my status.

Life is good and I am enjoying this nice warm fall we have had.  I am hoping for a warm winter too but with some rain or snow (just a little). I know today I will be getting extra love, cuddles and treats...yum.

Callie with a sugarskull

Now a bit about our other Gotcha Day kitty, sweet girl Callie.  It is hard to believe that has only been with us for three years.  It seems like she has been here forever...in a good way.  She is getting along with the other cats much better and is even trying to boss a few around (like Mamacita and Rosa) but Mom won't let her get away with that.  She is a bit younger so still has a lot of energy - every morning before breakfast Callie gets the zoomies and runs all thru the house, even jumping over Mom still sleeping on the bed!  She is silly and fun.  She too will get treats and lots of cuddles from the beans today.


Hope you enjoy our party today - a Day of the Dead theme.  I think we might have done this one before but no matter.  Mom even decorated the driveway  with Day of the Dead stuff so you can find out house easier.


Fill up your plates with sweets, snacks and of course nip margaritas, and dance to the music.  You can even dress up for the occasion too if you want. Thanks so much for stopping by.  We love you guys!

Lots of goodies


Pan de muerto


Sugarskull cookies


Nip margaritas

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!


 
Never before seen..until now...our 2016 Wildcat Woods Halloween costumes!  First is me...Countess Tabitha the Severer, known for carving her victims into tiny pieces.





Seductive Callie is dressed as a Hawaiian Hula Girl with flower lei and grass skirt. hoping to win over some handsome mancat out there.





For the ladycats is hunky Punk Rocker Mr Kitty with his spiked orange hair, leather wrist cuff and chain collar (hidden in his long sexy fur.)


And then for the cats who won't let mom dress them up and have to be tricked to get costumed... the tongue in cheek, punny and silly costumes ... 



Snowball as the suave yet laid back Buccaneer (buck-an-ear, get it?) resting on his hammick





Our Eddie Haskell cat, Only posing for the Cat's Out of the Bag costume..





And dark evil Mamacita as sinister villain BlackMail

Hope you enjoyed our line-up for this All Hallow's Eve. We will be back shortly for a combo Gotcha Day for Callie and Snowball on Nov. 2 just in time for El Dios de la Muerte.  Y'all come back!





Friday, October 28, 2016

Flashback Friday for Halloween


The zombies are coming
said tiny Sweetpea.
The zombies are coming.
They're coming for me!

Oh what shall I do?
Oh where shall I go?
I see one right now,
outside the window!


With a crash and a bang,
she was inside!
I looked here and there
but there was no place to hide!




She  grabbed me tightly 
with her bony claw.
I felt her teeth sink deeply
into my paw.


The zombies are coming
said tiny Sweetpea.
The zombies are coming.
Only this time, it's ME,
Zombie Sweetpea!

Hope you enjoyed this repost from 2012.  We will do our usual Halloween post on Monday for sure! Keep your black cats indoors this weekend - not safe out with all the shenanigans going one for the holiday!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Getting Ready for Halloween


Me

 Callie here today -You guys know how much Mom loves Halloween!  We are helping her get ready by wearing our special Halloween themed bandanas by Jodi, our IG friend.  Each one is reversible and attaches to your collar.  We don't wear collars so Mom used a ribbon.

Only models the other side of mine - spooky black with spider webs

Mr Kitty

The shop is BellaLovesAlex and features hand made kitty bandanas and bow ties for all seasons and holidays. They are purrfectly made and easy to wear.  If you are too late for this Halloween, then check out her fall and Christmas ones. Anything from this shop would make wonderful gifts fr your family and friends. Follow BellaLovesAlex on Instagram @bellalovesalex or on Facebook 

Jodi's cat Gizmo from her Etsy page with her orange bow tie.

(Mom didn't get anything for writing this - she just likes Jodi's hand made items for cats. Mom only buys American hand made!)

Tabitha wears the flip side of Mr Kitty's bandana

Mom also put up some Halloween decor at the base of our driveway.  A scary witch with a gravestone, with pumpkins and mums.Have you put any Halloween decorations up at your house?  

Our cat shelter is in the  left corner

We will be back with a special Halloween post with us in new never before seen costumes.  Before that we will remember our dear Minnie who left us last year on Oct. 29.  My Gotcha Day and Snowball's comes up right after Halloween so we should be online quite a bit for a while! Hope to see you all then!!

P.S. An update on us.  Normie was at the vet's twice this month for constipation.  It turns out the culprit was his Greenie dental treats.  Don't use those. We threw ours away. Then Sweetpea had a sore paw - her dew claw had grown in again so they had to cut all the claws way back.  We will have to keep an eye on her claws. She is doing well on her herbal thyroid and kidney meds.


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.

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