Saturday, December 30, 2017

Kittens and coffee


Thursday I took in five 12-week-old kittens to foster. I have found homes for two already!
Their one-eyed, pregnant mama was dumped at a local woman's house. She was kind enough to take mama in and has been raising the kittens, but has been having trouble finding them homes (and she already has eight cats!) So she asked me if I could help and I said yes, as the big foster room had just been vacated!

I took them straight to the vet for vaccines, deworming and check-up. They are being treated for ear mites too, but otherwise they are lovely, healthy little critters!

This one has been named Athena by my friend who is adopting her.

So much cuteness!

Percy and Athena, who are being adopted by my friend. They will stay here for about four more weeks until they are big enough to be neutered.


The usual kitten chaos.

My vet gave them temporary names as he examined them. Percy was "Bushy", Athena was "Chubby" (she had the roundest and probably wormiest belly!), then there's "Tilty", who is tilting her head likely because of the ear mites (if that doesn't resolve, she'll go back to the vet), "Lefty", because she only had mites in her left ear, and "Baldy", because she looks so much like Lefty that the vet shaved off a tiny patch of fur on her front leg so I could tell them apart! If they stay for any length of time, we are going to need some new names, lol...

Yesterday I also took in a shy grey cat from Operation Spay + Neuter in Hawkesbury. I'm going to see if I can get her to come out of her shell a bit. She is in the "auxiliary" foster cat room. No pics yet!

We've been having an extreme cold snap. It was -31 C/-23F again when I got up this morning. Yesterday the dogs had no interest in going out for a pee, so Gordon came up to the bedroom, put their coats on, and dragged them out!

Gigi was the most reluctant! Ears completely pinned. "NOOOOOOOO!"
Can you blame them? They are from Jamaica after all!

But the cats were staying cozy in my office...

Naomi, Mimi and Annuk.

I don't think Mimi really minded her cozy Greek blanket!

And Gordon had yesterday off, so we went for lunch at our fav place, The Quirky Carrot...

Gingerbread spice latte for him.

Chai latte for me!

And a blissful half hour relaxing on the couch there!

Hope you all have a lovely New Year's Eve tomorrow, and all the best for 2018!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

All I want for Christmas... an amazing home for my dear foster kitty Fanny!

I've been fostering this girl for a few weeks now. I love her.

She is a bit shy, but enjoy sitting in your lap to be cuddled and brushed.  I mentioned her in my last post. She is feeling so much better now that her mouth is fixed up.

I would keep her but (a) I don't need 18 cats and (b) I want to see her in a home where she gets plenty of love and attention without three hyper dogs. She is good with other kitties. She liked our foster cat Hallie and kittens Tulip and Enzo, who have all been adopted out in the past week.

I just want her to have a wonderful home. She has suffered enough in this life, and yet she still wants the company of humans. She would do well in a quiet home with someone who will be patient with her and let her come out on her own terms. She still likes to retreat to her box for alone time, but she will come out now when I call her, and even jump up into my lap.

Like I said, I love her... so does Gordon!

Meanwhile in Goatville...

Feeding grain to 21 goats is a bit of a life-or-death challenge now, lol.

Luc has been doing it for me a lot. I can't outrun these suckers and then they try to knock the bucket out of my hands! :)

And we adopted three more goats in November. Lloyd, Olive and Lillian...


No, not me. Olive (brown head.) The vet did ultrasounds on Thursday because I was highly suspicious. He doesn't Lillian is preggars, unless she very far along (when it can be hard to tell with the ultrasound) or not very far along (too early to tell.) Luc thinks she is preggars. Luc grew up working with cows, so I think his farmer's intuition may be correct. Regardless, Olive is for sure knocked up and due in about 2 to 3 months. So MORE GOAT KIDS FOR US! I've already exceeded my self-imposed goat limit of 20, sigh....

Bert kindly gave me a hand while I cleaned the goat house the other day. Wait, no he didn't. Neither did Kevin...

Have you ever seen a moose-goat before?

Me neither. No wonder he head-butts me!

Get out of the way, Annabelle!

Don't worry. She did! :)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Not dead, just tired! ;)

Lately I have been so consumed by animal care that I have not been finding enough time to write or make art (although I am still managing to write a poem a week!) And I've been missing my blog...

Following up on my last post, I have the saddest news.  A few weeks back, little Stella (who I fostered for about 10 weeks for the OSPCA) had seizures on was rushed to the vet. They did all they could for her, but the next day the decision was made to euthanize her...

Her new family (who also adopted her mama Nina, who is doing fine) were devastated. Stella had the most wonderful home with a lovely couple and their  three little boys who love cats. 

They weren't sure what happened with Stella, but she had a very rough start to life and nearly died on the day I took her in. She was a beautiful little miracle kitty and we were all so sad to lose her. Her new owners asked that I bury her here on the farm, where she spent most of her life.

On a brighter note, her brother Georgie, aka Pirate Kitty is doing very well....

...although he too had to go to the vet last Saturday, with yet another URI. He started life with one, but as you can see, he's growing into a beautiful cat. He will have surgery in January to remove his eye and  he'll be neutered at the same time, then we will formally adopt him from the OSPCA. Right now he is staying with my friend Sharron, who was fostering another kitten I had previously fostered named Celeste (one of the litter of eight I took in from the OSPCA in the summer.) A friend of mine in Maryland (!) adopted Celeste, and Sharron was keeping her until my friend could come get her, which she did last week. We figured Georgie would be good company for Celeste. Sharron is quite attached to Georgie but she has two older cats who are not as impressed with him. :) Anyway, he's staying with Auntie Sharron until his surgery is done.

Sharron started looking after Georgie when we went for a two-week vacation in Haiti last month!

We had the most amazingly trip, and spent most of our time relaxing at Abaka Bay Resort on Île-à-Vache, a small island off the south coast.  We were both exhausted when we arrived, but the trip was completely rejuvenating. I wish I were still there!
Not a lot of people go to Haiti for tourism; we saw zillions of foreign-aid workers and missionaries. But we had one of our best trips ever, which is mostly down to the friendliness, warmth and hospitality of the Haitian people. They have been through so much, but are so resilient.

Fishing boat on Île-à-Vache

We swam every day in the ocean, snorkelled, walked, kayaked, and stuffed our faces. I read three books. It was amazing.

And the sunsets were beautiful! I am wistful just looking at these pictures. We both agreed it was one of our best trips ever, and that's saying something with all the trips we've gone on. Haiti needs more tourists. We hired a great driver who made getting around so easy! But we're back in the land of ice and snow now.

That's okay; I love winter!

I am struggling to keep balance in my life these days... there is always so much to do.  I have really taken to fostering cats, and this year I have adopted out 14 on my own! Since I last posted, I have taken in four cats/kittens... three have already gone to new homes. Right now I just have lovely Fanny left.

She is somewhere between the ages of 6 and 12. I would guess she is 7 or 8. She was taken from a horrible situation in which the two other cats in the house were euthanized. She is shy but very loving. She loves to sit on your lap and be brushed and cuddled. When she arrived, her mouth was a mess of missing and infected teeth and gums. We have since had that corrected through dental surgery. I will get her spayed after Christmas.

I so want to find her a great home.! She needs a quiet home with someone who doesn't mind a cat who likes to hide sometimes. She has gotten along well with the other foster cats and kittens here and she has quite a mellow personality, but when she is afraid, she retreats to her blanket-lined box. And yet she will let total strangers come up to her and pet her. She is a purring bundle of love.

My heart aches for this girl; she is a cat who only wants to be loved, and she has been through so much. I don't know how long she was dealing with pain from her mess of a mouth, but she has certainly brightened up since we got her teeth fixed. And now she chews her food instead of just licking it! 

I need to find someone who is happy to adopt an older cat who just wants to live a quiet life filled with cuddles and love. She really has stolen my heart, but I don't need 18 cats and honestly, she deserves a life where she can be the centre of attention.

So I'm tired and working on prioritizing things in my life, but at the same time I am finding all this rescue work incredibly rewarding. I just need to carve out more time for my artistic life.

And I have been really touched by the way people are responding to what I'm doing. People have been very generous with donations of time, money, and things for all the animals. The other week, I got a beautiful surprise in the mail...

The wife of a nice man who follows me on Twitter and Facebook crocheted me this lovely paw-print scarf! I love it so much, and it's really clever the way the paw-prints are worked into the pattern.  They sent me a beautiful card and note along with it.  I was so touched. When I am out doing barn chores or cuddling cats or giving goats needles, it doesn't feel like I am doing anything special, so I always get this little frisson of surprise and happiness when someone does something kind like this, or sends me a note or message that lifts my spirits. This scarf brought tears to my eyes. Everything makes me cry these days. I blame menopause, lol.

I never really thought I'd end up doing this kind of thing with my life; art and writing are what have always mattered to me as much as my animals. But this animal rescue work has really turned into my thing, so I'm trying to put it all together with my artistic life. And we finally applied for charitable status, so I'm hopeful that within a year or so, that will be granted. It would really ease our financial load to be able to deduct some of our expenses related to animal care, and I would love to be able to give charitable receipts for the money people donate to the animals.

Anyway, I'm just rambling away on the blog today because I haven't been writing here enough and I really miss it and my bloggy friends!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, whatever you celebrate. If you know anyone who might want to adopt my dear Fanny, let me know. :)

Monday, November 13, 2017

What's the answer?

People won't even stop being cruel to each other, so how do you make them stop being cruel to animals? Think on that for a sec...

All my foster cats and kittens have left. More will come soon... I sure miss these guys (well, not Pirate Kitty! Pirate Kitty is staying!)

Buddy is in a loving home now.

Luna, one of the first eight kittens I fostered for the OSPCA this summer, is now with my friend Cat and her boyfriend. They adore her!

My foster kitty Willie (now Dusty) is in a great new home and likes to jump in the fridge when his family opens the door (so they are very careful not to shut him in!)

Mycroft, one of the "six dwarves" of my foster mama cat Snow White is living the kitty dream with my friends Marie-Emmanuelle and Patrick, my godsons, and four dog siblings (two in this picture) plus two cat siblings, including Stella, the white kitty in this pic. M-E saved her from the side of a road in Quebec where here sibling had already been squashed by a car.

It's great to see these happy endings, but there are many more unhappy ones. The last time I was in our local feed mill, they had two kittens there looking for homes. Two had already been adopted out. Someone had left a box with the mama cat and her four babies at the door of the feed mill. They kindly took the cats in, but Mama, who was very affectionate and had clearly been a pet, keep vomiting, so they got her into a rescue where she could receive proper care. Really not the feed mill's responsibility! But they did the right thing to help these dumped felines.

The salesclerk told me that the first time the Mama cat vomited, she threw up cigarette butts, because that is what she had been trying to eat to keep herself nourished to feed her babies. 

Cigarette butts. Yes, the cat was eating cigarette butts to survive.

Think on that, all you people who dump cats in the countryside and think they'll be able to hunt for themselves. Even this desperate Mama had to take to eating cigarette butts because that's all she could find. The salesclerk shook her head as she told me this story. She couldn't understand how people could be so cruel. 

Neither can I. 

For example, Pirate Kitty would still have both his eyes had his mother Nina been properly cared for when she gave birth (even better, she should have been spayed so that she could never have had unwanted kittens in the first place!) Instead, Nina and her babies were taken to the OSPCA in an appalling state: hungry, skinny, flea-ridden and suffering from upper respiratory infections. Little Stella nearly died from anemia due to flea bits. And an URI led to the complications that cost Pirate Kitty his eye...

More completely unnecessary suffering. Fortunately our Pirate boy is resilient, but he will soon need surgery to remove his ruined eye.

I am beside myself these days over the way cats and kittens in my part of the world are too often treated like garbage. People can't be bothered to have them spayed or neutered; when they get pregnant or start marking the house, they are tossed out and people get new kittens, then repeat the cycle. They dump them in the countryside, they dump them in other people's garages and barns,  or they just toss them outside to fend for themselves. My cat Emily was dumped at my farm on a bitter January day, and lost the tip of her tail to frostbite. It's amazing she survived at all.

Let me just say that you're an idiot if you think your dumped cat or kitten is going to be just fine because it can hunt for itself. It's not. At best, it will have a short, miserable life before falling prey to a car, a coyote, disease or any number of awful things.

For whatever reason, this year has been a hellacious year in our area for unwanted cats and kittens. Every shelter and rescue organization I know is overflowing. People have been asking me daily to take in cats and kittens, and I only have two small rooms for that; I'm not a shelter or even a rescue, really. But people are desperate... one lady had a pregnant cat dumped in her garage. Now she is trying to find a place for mama cat and three babies.

Most of the farmers in my area treat barn cats as completely expendable. These cats have litter after litter of babies. They get run over, eaten by predators, you name it... any number of nasty possibilities. But hey, there will be more soon! It's so ingrained, I don't have the strength even to discuss it with the many farmers I know (who are generally nice, decent people!) I just don't get why so many people think cats are less deserving of consideration than dogs (who suffer enough abuse) or horses (who also suffer enough abuse) or

For me, it all comes down to needless and utterly preventable suffering. Get your cat spayed or neutered. End of. If you run out of, say, barn cats, don't worry! There will always be plenty of cats around looking for homes or a warm barn. Really. No shortage. There will never be a shortage of cats in the world. Never.

So what's the answer? What's the question? My question is, how the hell do we get it through to people that not neutering your cats, letting them have even one litter, is the pathway to completely preventable suffering? How do we get people to understand the despair those of us involved in rescue feel when we have to say "no" to yet another needy cat, because our shelter is already full of needy cats? In my area, at least, things never seem to get any better...

I see something special in every cat I come across. Thus it breaks my heart to see them suffer, and for such easily avoidable reasons.

I haven't found an answer to my question yet. I feel like maybe we need to change attitudes towards cats (and dogs and...) at the root level with attempts to educate children, which no doubt has been tried before. I think our nearest city, Cornwall, needs a low-cost spay/neuter clinic. Our OSPCA shelter there has the highest cat intake in Ontario and there is a huge stray/feral cat problem in that city. We need a bigger, better shelter. We need more government funding for said shelter (everyone thinks the Cornwall OSPCA receives government funding. It does not.)

But really, I don't know what the answer is. I'm just tired of being distressed over messages from desperate people looking to place unwanted, suffering cats. I've been wracking my brains trying to think of some novel way to deal with the problem, but so far, no luck. So instead I just get angry at the people who shrug off or worse, cause the suffering of animals. Sometimes I hate them, especially when I'm holding a sickly, suffering kitten. But I don't want to turn into a bitter old crazy cat lady, plus there really are lots of wonderful people left in the world, people who care passionately about many things, including cats.

If you can judge a nation by how it treats its animals, Canada still has a long way to go...

I'm still hoping for an answer to my question.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A pony and a cat, and surprise for absolutely no one!

First, the pony...

Jimmy the rescue Shetland pony is complaining about a lack of airtime on the blog. I was doing groundwork with him on Friday and he insisted I show you a pic of his "stand on the tire and feel like a giant horse" trick. So here you go!

I took this by accident, but I quite like it...

Somebody was snuffling in the sand ring for anything edible. No, it wasn't me.

Meanwhile, the cat... on October 15, I took in this poor guy...

Buddy was dumped at my neighbour's farm. He was very skinny, unneutered, and in need of TLC. She couldn't keep him but was feeding him, and had made an appointment to take him to our local OSPCA shelter on October 31. She asked me if I would keep him until then. So I said yes...

He has gained some weight since I took this pic!

Buddy is the most loving, sweet cat you can imagine. I took him to the vet for a check up and vaccines...

No FelV or FIV! 
And guess what? I found him a forever home with some lovely people, so after I take him in to be neutered in October 31st, he will go home to his new family.

Needless to say, we've cancelled the appointment to surrender him to the OSPCA. They are so overwhelmed right now! It is great to be able to free up a spot by taking Buddy off the list.

And this week, we moved him into the auxiliary foster cat room... 

As you can see, he's quite content!

And gaining weight, which is a relief. Send good thoughts for his neutering on Tuesday!

I am still fostering Nina and her three kittens from the OSPCA...

Soon they will all be going to their forever homes! Yes, all of them have been adopted out (but are staying here until they are weaned.) And the best news is, Nina and her Calico baby Stella are going to a home together.

Gordon took this cute pic of Stella, little Gordie aka Pirate Kitty, and Maisie... not to scale, but Maisie IS the biggest and Stella is the little one. :)

And in news that is probably surprising to absolutely no one...

This little guy, who is blind in one eye despite our attempts to save it...

... has a forever home...

with us! :)