Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Camera from Australia, Kittens and Ugly Nature

Andrew sent me his old camera when he upgraded.  I like it.  Small, heavy, which makes me think its well built (I don't know why), and very easy to use.  The only trouble is a quickly drained battery and then I could not recharge it because it's an Australian type plug in, with slanted contacts.

I will cut off that plug and attach an American type.  I thought I had a plug somewhere, to use, so I could do that tonight, but wouldn't you know, I can't find it.

Ah well, tomorrow then.  Also will order an extra battery.

Here are the first photos I took on the camera.  Two of Tonka and one of Winter.

Now, to the ugly side of nature.

I was coming down under the over pass, near the cop shop and homeless shelter, when  a huge hawk, Red Tail I think, came swooping out of nowhere and plucked an unsuspecting gull from the air.  It was a big bird the hawk took from the sky and the hawk struggled then briefly, losing altitude, before securing his prey and flying back across several railroad tracks to sit atop a utility pole where he began to tear the poor bird apart to eat.

I drove back around several blocks to where I could cross the tracks, then back to sit across from that utility pole.  I had only my phone as camera, but I took video and pictures, as feathers rained down, like snow falling, from the carnage above.

The hawk was very large, far larger than the Coopers hawks that frequent the blocks near me to hunt down anything they can snatch from the air.   Our small town has a lot of hawks currently, and they kill a lot of small birds.

It isn't pretty at all.  In fact, it is gruesome to watch and yet the hawks are mesmerizing in their skill and beauty.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Three Kittens Plus Box Insanity

Donation Challenge:  
UPDATE On the Donation Challenge:  We achieved the $350 match!  Yay!  But....the donor being impressed possibly with all of your support, offered up another match up to $350 more!  Let's Do This!  And thank you so much to all those who have contributed.  You should all be granted knighthood or sainthood or whatever honor you wish bestowed.

Now, to Kittens.

The three are still here.  And suddenly, like a switch was thrown, Winter came out of his shell, flopped on his side in the cat bed, and purred.  Then he wanted petted.

Winter loves chicken.  Tonka loves all food, maybe a little too much.  Mystic?  She likes to play.
Brotherly Love?  Tonka, give your bro, Winter, a swat and I bet he doesn't use your face as a paw rest again.
Eye on the Prize
Mystic Stalks Cat Toy
No rain yesterday, or today for that matter.  We did get our first frost of the year.  I took advantage of the clear day and spent it on the roof's edge scooping mucky half rotted stinky icky leaves out of the gutters.  Yuck!  

Now, to box insanity.  Sometimes the best toys arrive via mail.   Mail packaging that is.  The dry food Barb sent via Amazon is great.  But the box it came in?  The box is spectacular.

And lastly, well, a couple pairs of friends.

Alexi and Haley

You know who, with one of her besties

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Five

Donation Challenge:  
I have a donor willing to match up to $350 in donations to The Happy Cat Club, my nonprofit.  That means, if you donate $50, THCC gets $100!   This is totally exciting and a great opportunity!  As you know, every penny donated goes to feeding cats, fixing cats and vet care for cats.  No administrative costs or staff salaries weigh us down.  Let's do it!  Hit that donate button on the top right with a purr!   

The three freeway colony kittens are being fixed, tested, vaccinated and chipped today, over at Heartland Humane.  It's a great deal they offer.   Thank you to them and also to all those who contributed to the cost to get it done.

Their parents, both wild things, were fixed last week.

Which I feel is extremely important to the overall feline population.  If you take the kittens, you've got to fix the adults.

To get this little group fixed makes me happy.  I know its not much if you think of the larger problem or even compared to what other groups do.  But it does make me happy.  I can't help it.

The kittens will be heading to Portland at some point after Thanksgiving.  More resources up there, more adoption groups, more money, more energy.   Thank you to my friend, Keni.

Photos of the five:


Winter, the black boy with the white chest spot who can be hard to photograph, especially with a failing camera.  So I stylized a blurred photo of him.

And little Tonka, who is fast becoming Chubby.  I think that will pass, once he realizes the food dish is always full.

Wild daddy, fixed and returned.  Winter is his spitting image.
I finally covered the cage I made for Fat Oci, with chicken wire, to keep kittens in, and moved them into it last night, which immediately began to help with their socialization.

Wild mom.  Tonka and Mystic look just like her, Tonka minus the orange.  She was still lactating, still feeding them, but she didn't have much to give.  Fixed and returned.
It's a relief to know the kittens are getting fixed today.  It's my thing.  I'm not an adoption type of person although I have adopted out hundreds of cats in my time.  I much prefer the cat wrangling, the round ups for fixing, not only because it suits my nature more than doing adoptions, but because it is so cost and labor effective at making a real difference in the larger picture.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Winter Blah

Winter is here.   Oregon is back to its normal cold soggy gray.

We're getting adequate rain and the weather report says there is snow piling up in the mountains today, which will make the ski and  snow boarder people happy.

I've never been a skier.  It's an expensive sport.  For a brief while, primarily when I was living in Alaska long ago, I used cross country skis.  You don't have to buy lift tickets using those.  But they are a bit hard to control.

The maple leaves are all down now.  Thank goodness.  Most of the Cherry tree leaves are down.  The Birch out back takes the longest to lose its foliage.  Reluctant I guess.

The Maple in late October
The Maple today
Mourning Dove in the yard.  They like cracked corn.

English Sparrow huddled in the Butterfly bush.  English Sparrows or House Sparrows are a non native species and widely hated even by bird lovers, who see them as threats to Bluebirds and other native species.  House sparrows will kill bluebirds.  I have no Bluebirds anywhere in this area.  So the fact the English Sparrows come to the feeder, not something I worry about.   

Speaking of non native species, I got told the Butterfly Bush is non native and destructive because it spreads and takes over native habitat and that I should take it out.   Man alive.  Only a tiny part of me is native American.  Mostly I'm non native ancestry.    

Chickadees are my main visitors now, besides the Mourning Doves, also considered a pest species.  The Coopers Hawk was flying low down a block yesterday no doubt after a fat Mourning Dove.

The Doves are not great at quick exits off the ground, making them easy prey for the Coopers Hawk in most areas, but my yard has trees that provide cover and distraction from the Hawks abilities.
The kittens are still here.  The volunteer from another group who had told me about them said she'd take them if I caught them.  But at that time, it was thought they were tame kittens freshly dumped near the freeway.  When it was discovered they were born in the bushes, offers of help have faded.  It is difficult to find fosters who can adequately tame older feral kittens.  The ideal foster is a family with well parented kids between eight and 12, with someone home most of the time.  Then they get handled by lots of people which is what they need.  Or to find someone willing to adopt them wildish and work with them in the home they will be in forever.  Not such easy finds.  Regardless,  they will be fixed next Thursday at Heartland.  I have raised $100 of the $120 that will cost.

Tonka here is darling and a little boy.

Tonka, from the Berry Vines
Mystic, the torbi kitten
What will become of them?  Not sure.  I'm working hard to tame them, but often if only one person handles older wild kittens, they may become tame to only that person.

Helping homeless cats or kittens in trouble can turn into a difficult expensive undertaking.   There is little help out there.  Especially if they are wild. The three in the bathroom are my current dilemma but a few blocks from me another played out when a woman heard kittens crying and took action to help them.  The boy immediately showed her he'd been owned and played openly in the room she put them in within hours after she caught him.  She thought the girl, caught a day and a half after the boy, would be the same.  But on the day she was going to relinquish them to Heartland, although they don't usually take Linn County cats, she told me the girl was still hiding.  She'd given the boy to a friend. So the girl kitten remained with her.  But today, she contacted me and is anxious to have the kitten gone because its stressing her cats.  Tell me about it.

But then, she added that although the kitten is loving, she doesn't want held.  'Oh no,' I was thinking.  'That's not a shelter material kitten.'  I didn't know what to tell her after that.   Poor woman, poor kitten.  No good deed goes unpunished.

I know she'd like me to take that kitten.   I can't.  I have no place for the three now in my bathroom.  Too many mouths to feed now and I don't get many donations.  I'm also not an adoption group.  I understand her dilemma very very well.

In other news, is of course another slaughter by psychotics, this time in France.  It upset me so greatly I quit the TV and just went to reading books unable to stand the sadness of it.

I also quit facebook for the same reason.  I didn't close my page, I quit posting, but have to have it there so I can keep up The Happy Cat Club page.  It wasn't terrorists from afar that caused me facebook angst, it was manipulation and snarky insults from people I either didn't know at all, on other pages, or barely know.

I don't need that.

Winter is indeed upon us.  I feel the dampness to my bones.   The drizzle and gray have affected my mood.  Oh to be a bear, and hibernate through the icky months.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


I eventually ended up with five cats from along the highway, 3 kittens and two adults.  I got the two adults fixed, for $40 each, at Heartland Humane.  They remained here two nights and then I released them back where I caught them.   They were of good weight, so they were getting enough food somewhere.

The torbi kitten, caught by a worker at one business, is taming fast.   Her siblings, the black male above, and the tabby below, not so much, but I got way too busy and worn out, trapping late, then trying to catch up on chores here.  I have not had much time to work with them.

They  have the biggest eyes!  The tabby above is the last kitten I caught, in that down pour of last Sunday.

In the meantime, I got a text from a Vancouver rescue.  They had given my number to a woman looking for help with three wilder cats in Albany, that her mom had fed.  Her mom, 91, just had a stroke.  She survived but will be moving to assisted living up in Vancouver now and her house in Albany will be sold eventually.  Good luck on that, I thought, since there are a zillion houses for sale in town.

When I connected with the woman, it turns out I know her mom, because I trapped those three cats for her mom back five years ago.  An abandoned tame female had roamed in pregnant and had them under her shed about six years ago.  She took them to her own vet to be fixed once I trapped the three.  They were young adults then.  

I went over briefly yesterday, to set up the drop trap for pre feeding.  But then she decided, since she's stressed out, to ask a neighbor to feed them for a few weeks, while she gets her moms stuff moved out and sorts out what her mom will want at the assisted living place, moves her up there to it, from the Salem hospital where she is now.  It's a great deal of stress and work to suddenly have placed on your shoulders, especially when she lives so far away, in another state.

Thank goodness I thought, for the cats sake.  She doesn't know what to do with them.  They are light colored which is not good for relocation to a rural setting.  Predators spot the light colored cats so easily.  She wants to do right by her mom, who adored those cats, wild or not.

Her mother had other tame house cats, all taken in as strays.  Her mom can only take two of the tame ones to assisted living and the two lucky ones have been chosen.  Her daughter is also trying to place the other tame ones.

I liked her mom very much when I helped her trap those cats.  Despite being in her late 80's then, she insisted on carrying traps and the like.  Behavior you don't find much even among twenty somethings around here.

I also heard that Skye is now at Heartland.  I trapped Skye over in Lebanon, along with another female and a male, back at the end of May.  She was fed in a neighborhood over run with cats.  The woman feeding her wanted her in a shelter and to get a home, but when I took her in to be fixed, turned out she was lactating.   So Heartland micro chipped her back then, and said she was welcome to come back, to be put up for adoption, at any point.  She had to go back, however, because out there somewhere, she had kittens.

Well, the woman feeding lured in Skye's kitten (only one survived) and Elizabeth's two kittens.  I'd also trapped Elizabeth that night, very very late, in a severe thunderstorm.  She too had been lactating.   Yesterday, all three kittens, now teens, and Skye, were relinquished to Heartland.  Skye gets a new chance and no more street roaming for her.  I am relieved, to say the least.

Skye, when I trapped her late May of last spring.  She is tame and sweet and has had a hard life after someone left her.   She's now at Heartland and I hope she gets an awesome home!  If you want to adopt a lovely sweet girl, go ask for Skye at Heartland Humane in Corvallis!
Last night, I hear a knock on my door.   It was a woman from a few blocks away.  She'd seen two kittens, and grabbed one.  He screamed his head off and the other one skedaddled.  She wanted to borrow a trap to catch the other one.  So I loaned her one.

Later, after returning the two wildish adults, I went over to see the kitten she'd caught already.  He's not feral, just scared, and instantly laid against my chest purring loudly, a little black tux boy.  I hope she can catch the other one.  Someone kicked them out nearby her, is my guess.  Or some friend of someone who lives in all those apartments brought them with him or her, and dumped them out while visiting.

The three highway kittens will be fixed soon.  I'm going to Portland to get it done, because I don't have $120 to do it through Heartland.  And that's the cheapest around here.   I have spent $120 already in the last week getting three cats fixed, one from the N. Albany colony and the two from the highway runners.   These three too are from what I am calling the Highway Runners colony, living along highway 34, not far from the freeway.  That's no place for kittens.

I'm very content with the last two weeks work.  I've helped a lot of cats and a lot of people.   Sure, my nonprofit fund is way down again, but that is what it exists for, to make things work for cats and people.   I hope to find creative ways to fund the nonprofit, to continue to keep at it.  These are cats that need help and people who care for them desperate to find the help getting them fixed.   Once its done, everyone can focus elsewhere and feel better, including the cats.

By the way Cotton, the kitten from the farm/wood lot, is doing well up at Sherry's place.  She fosters through KATA (Kitty Angel Team Adoption).   Cotton is awaiting adoption.  Here's a new photo of her sent to me by Sherry.

Monday, November 09, 2015

No Let Up

A KATA volunteer happens to mention that when doing adoptions at Petco, someone told her about kittens living in the briars down by the freeway near some businesses.  I couldn't stand that thought.

It's been pouring here, drenching down pours.  To think of kittens out in that, made me cringe.

I went down and first talked to the coffee stand folks.  One of them had caught one of the kittens two days earlier.  Unfortunately, the person she thought could take the kitten backed out.  And she has two large dogs who eat kittens.  So the kitten had been living in a crate in the back of her car.  She asked if I'd take her, so I did.

I got her to my bathroom and she acted feral, but then wanted petted and on my lap and even on my shoulder.   She is darling!   A little torbi girl, very skinny.

8 or 9 weeks of age.

After she got settled in my bathroom, which meant kicking out my cats again, I went back over with more traps and tarps I'd cut, but they're old icky tarps, to cover the traps.

I caught a black kitten with a brilliant white chest spot.  He's a bit bigger than the torbi girl, probably because he's a boy and she's a girl.  Then I caught a massive black male.  This alerted me to the fact these kittens were not dumped here, but born here, to adults who were likely dumped originally.

I went and talked to another business.  Some workers there also feed the cats.  They told me there were four or five adults and the kittens.  They were not sure if there were three or four kittens.

Nutria were everywhere around the businesses, as they are in many places in Oregon.  They love the rain more than we do.  Their oily coats are waterproof.  They have huge yellow teeth and they can sink those into your ankle should startle one in the dark.  They seemed to have shit on the curbs surrounding the businesses.  Why not in the field, I thought.  Their greenish smooth elongated pellets lined every curb in one place.

Nutria generally eat grasses, but they'll eat cat food too, so I knew it'd be difficult to trap there.

Nonetheless I set a trap in a corner with a cover over it.   However, the down pour began, a ruthless deluge.   I stared over at the trap to see the entire corner of the parking lot several inches underwater.  The trap bottom was soaked and stood in three inches of water.  I moved it to higher ground.

I caught whom I thought was the other tabby kitten, but pulling the cover back slightly, I realize its another adult, a torbi female, young and skinny.

However, much later I did catch another tiny scared tabby kitten.  Now Miss First in My Bathroom kitten, Miss Purr on My Shoulder, rejoined with her wild siblings, is acting wild again.  What will I do with these kittens?   They need tamed and judging from the first girl, when alone, it could happen quickly, but it won't happen here, where there is just me, and my cats are so mean to kittens.  I need help with these little ones!  Please!

As for the adults, they will be fixed and returned.  The problem is getting an anesthesia release signed for them from the business whose workers feed.   The main feeder won't be back til Thursday.  She said she'd text me and we'd arrange the signing today.  I hope she does.  It gets hard here, holding onto extras.

It's a double insult to those helping cats in this county.  We don't get paid for sitting out there in the rain and cold, to catch cats and kittens, who do need caught and fixed.   Think what would happen if we didn't get all these cats and kittens fixed.

Then once caught, there's no further help either, in getting them fixed, or wild kittens socialized.   The shelters only take tame kittens, and the shelter in this county, seems always full.  There are no cat fixing programs that are helpful in the two counties either.   So you catch a feral or two, you can wait a week or longer, until there's surgery space over at Heartland, and pay out of your pocket $40 each to fix the cat, or travel all the way to Portland to get them done at the FCCO.  During the day, if you have no money, to kill time, you sit in a parking lot and hopefully its not too cold or too hot to sleep.

Do you ever see cat volunteers honored at local events honoring volunteers?  Never!   And yet we do so much volunteering, probably more than any other type of volunteer and pay out of pocket and we create better communities.   It's a joke.   We are a marginalized bunch.  We're also awesome.

I've not got photos of the other two kittens or the adults yet.

Here are the two adults, and Heartland texted me about 10:00, that their surgery today is full, but they would work them in.  AWESOME.  They're over there now!

Obviously a female, since she's a torbi.  Looks just like her daughter.

Looks like a boy to me.
I am having big time issues with the camera I bought to replace the one that broke.  I bought it on ebay for not very much and it is exactly like the one that broke.  However, it will suddenly shut down saying "lens error" and often now refuses to focus.  Fortunately the little one, sent by the Florida woman, still works just fine.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Power Failure

I went to the grocery store today after a long nap, that felt so wonderful!  On the way home I noticed the light was dead at the intersection of Geary and Queen, which happens sometimes.  Drivers were being polite and going one at a time.

But driving along the street home, I began to notice no lights in any windows.  Power was out.  The cul de sac was dark and the street was blocked half block up.  Firetrucks guarded the intersection a half block from my place.  I walked up in the rain to gawk, with others.   The line had come down and was dangling on the far side of the street.  Some people could not get home, unless walked by that line with a fireman.  I guess maybe it was still hot.  I asked what brought that down and someone said a transformer blew.

That's a downed electric line drooping on either side of the street sign.
The power was out about four hours in all.  The intersection was lit up by huge lights from the power company as they worked to replace the downed line.  

Working on the power line

It was no big deal.  I got out my camp lantern for light.   And my sterno stove to make a hot drink, and finally, supper.  And then about 8:00 p.m., with a jolt, on came the power.