Saturday, October 06, 2018

Another day, another cone

Poor Redford... the MOnday of the week Keaton disappeared, Redford showed up with a large gash at the base of his tail. It was a clean cut, not an animal bite; he managed to slice himself open on something. He needed ten stitches, a drain, painkillers and antibiotics! And he had to stay in the granary for two weeks (in fact, he's still there. Indoor life seems to suit this barn cat!)

He was remarkably tolerant of his cone, almost proud of it!

The cone came off last Tuesday, and he has healed up really well. I would LOVE to know how he hurt himself. I hate having any outdoor cats, but we have such vermin problems in our barn without a few barn cats on patrol!

Meanwhile, Monty got skunked for the first time last week...

THat's mud on his ruff. My theory is, a skunk paraded itself along the fenceline, and Monty was trying to dig under the fence to get at it, but failed and instead got a shot of Pepé Le Pew parfum!

Meanwhile in Spain, things are smelling much sweeter. Today we walked around the beautiful town of Estepona...

People here take a lot of pride in their homes. It really is a very beautiful country!

And flashback to earlier this year when we did Cats on Your Mats yoga, and dear Keaton had the time of his life!

Friday, October 05, 2018


Yes, it has been a very long time since I have posted. This is not for lack of wanting to post... my life has become too busy, and I am trying to sort that out and get back on track. It is hard to get any time to myself at the farm these days, and I need time alone to do my creative work. Fortunately I do have some amazing people helping me, especially my friend Sharron, who does a lot of work with the foster kitties, giving me some beautiful chunks of time.

 I can't remember when I was ever as exhausted as I am now, so obviously something needs to change. I am reflecting on all that while we are in Spain for two weeks...


I love love love spending time with animals and foster kitties, but having to deal with so many people every day is wearing me out. I am an introvert! I like people, but I need time to myself to recharge. So I am enjoying a good recharging in Spain with just my Gordon for company.

 Just before we left for our vacation, we discovered that our beloved boy Keaton had a huge tumour wrapped around his kidney.

Keaton gave the best hugs and had a purr like a babbling brook

A couple of weeks back, Keaton (a barn cat) disappeared for three nights, which was totally unlike him. When he returned, he was unwell with a fever and weight loss. He spent four nights at the vet, where his blood tests all came back normal. They managed to get rid of his fever, and he seemed well enough to return home. We put him in the granary so he would be safe inside while he continued to recover. After a week on Clavamox, I saw he was deteriorating and picking at his food, so he went back to the vet where he finally had an x-ray and the tumour was discovered. In a week, he had gained 2 kg of water weight, and the tumour was actually pushing his colon way out of place. 

There was nothing that could be done. Even if we'd found out about it a couple of weeks earlier, the results would have been the same. Cats are remarkably good at hiding illness.

Keaton was having difficulty with his breathing and had stopped eating much, so we made the decision to send him to Rainbow Bridge on Tuesday, the day before we left for our trip. He was only five and it was almost a year to the day since we lost Millicent, and of course we just lost Mootie in July. It has all been a bit too much for me.

Keaton was a one-of-a-kind cat, and the farm's meeter-greeter and mascot. He was also the favourite of our farm manager Luc, who had a very special relationship with Keaton. He brought him treats, and gave him a daily cuddle, and called him the king of cats. Which he was. A wonderful king indeed.

And Luc also built a box to bury Keaton in, dug out a hole in the woods with the tractor, then filled it in by hand with a shovel while I watched. I hput a spring of catnip in with Keaton so he'd have something for the kitty afterlife. Luc, who usually is quite chatty, did not say a word as he buried our beloved cat, and neither did I.

I wish he could have had many more years with us. I miss him more than I can say.

So I am taking it easy here in sunny Spain, reading and eating and enjoying some quiet time with my husband, and I am hoping that when I get back home, I will be able to manage my life a bit better and not get so exhausted again, and have time to post on my blog, which I do as much for me as anyone else.

Wishing you all a peaceful and happy weekend, and happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Good bye, Mootie

Today we lost our sweet Mootie!

Mootie and her friend Pip came to the farm in 2014 after their owner fell ill and needed to rehome them.

They were supposed to be barn cats (back when I had some silly rule about house-cat numbers!) But it wasn't long before they were living in the house.

Mootie had a particularly hard life before coming to her last owner. She languished in a shelter for a year, labelled "unadoptable" due to her cranky demeanour.

But her former owner Susan took a chance on Mootie. It was discovered that Mootie was actually in pain from a mouthful of bad teeth and gums. Once all her teeth were removed, her true affectionate happy character showed itself.

After I got her, I had her umbilical hernia repaired. At that time, they found out that after her spay, her interior stitches had let go, so all that had been holding her abdominal organs in was basically some layers of skin! So that was repaired as well. She hated wearing a cone, so I put her in a baby onesie, but she kept ripping that off too! (See above photo.)

We recently finished up the deck off our granary and got some furniture there, and Mootie had been enjoying sitting out there with me, soaking up a bit of sun. This pic were taken just over a week ago.

I took her into the vet this morning because her breathing was laboured. They did a bunch of tests... by the time they called this afternoon, Mootie was intubated and unconscious, and the vet said our only option was to euthanize. He didn't want to wake her up as he thought she would not be able to continue breathing on her own. So I got down there as fast as I could and was with her when she passed. Unfortunately Gordon was in Brockville all day and couldn't be there, but I told him what was happening, and I also said good-bye to Mootie for him.

This little cat will leave a great big hole in our hearts! Rest in peace, Mootie girl. I hope you meet up with Millicent (who we lost a year ago) and you play together in fields of catnip. We love you, Moot. xoxo

Monday, July 02, 2018

Thank you!

First off, thank you for all the beautiful comments you left on my last post, and for allowing me to get that off my chest. The whole thing touched a nerve for me, but I am okay letting it go now. I needed some time. And I feel a lot happier now than I did in May!  THANK YOU. xox

Meanwhile, the fostering continues on...

My shy beauty Taya is still here but making progress! She takes treats from my hand now and I can stroke her while she is eating, and best of all, she now "talks" to me every day! She is quite bonded to her granary friends (Mootie, Pip and Fanny) and at times it is hard for me to imagine letting her go, but I will if the right home comes along. She definitely needs to be with at least one other cat. She just adores other cats and I feel that she would be terribly lonely without them.

And I have some newbies... 

Last Friday the 22nd, I took in this beautiful tuxedo girl named Peekaboo... and her SIX BABIES! Peekaboo was a stray who would show up for food the home of a kind man. He noticed she was pregnant. Then one day, she came back "deflated" and he knew she had had her babies. He followed her for THREE hours until she went back to her next, which was just a spot in the middle of a field of tall grass. He brought Peekaboo and her babies back to him place in a big Rubbermaid bin, then called my friend Elizabeth for help. She called me, and I agreed to take the little family.

THe babies are now about three weeks old and are fat, healthy, lovely kittens! And mama is just a sweetheart. She will be highly adoptable once the babies are weaned. I am really enjoying this little family. I had to put them all down in the barn room as my two foster cat rooms are full (and I have overflow cats in my granary!)

Because on that same night, I took in this girl...

Meet Valerie, named after my friend Valerie of  Wandering Cat Studio. Valerie not only sponsors my barn cat Keaton monthly, she has done many amazing things to help me with fundraising for my animals, such as donating beautiful hand-knitted items to my annual silent auction. So Valerie gets a feline namesake. A PREGGO one at that!

I had Valerie into the vet last week. She is due within a week or two and has two or three kittens in there. She is doing very well. She was a stray wandering the streets of our nearby city of Cornwall. She's very affectionate and chatty. I hope everything will go well with her birthing. She is my first pregnant cat! I've dealt with goat and pig births, but never a kitty one. Send good thoughts for this lovely dilute Calico gal.

And Jewel's kittens are doing  great!

Jewel and babies have all had their first vaccines. Jewel and four of the seven kittens already have homes lined up. The kittens can be spayed/neutered when they weigh 2 kg.

It is wonderful to see this family doing so well! That dilute Calico (Star) and the tabby/white girl (Nova) are still waiting for homes, along with tabby/white boy Boomer. They are awesome, extremely well-socialized kittens. And I am so pleased Jewel has a fabulous home lined up in Ottawa. She'll be leaving August 11th.

 And then I have this tiny beauty!

Meet Frances! She is about a year old. She was dumped in a farmer's machine shed after having kittens. I don't know what happened to the kittens, unfortunately. THey weren't with her, but she was full of milk and had clearly been nursing for some time. I'm hoping whoever dumped her just kept or rehomed the kittens, but I will never know.

Frances will be spayed and adopted out. She is just the sweetest little honey-pie of a cat! SO affectionate, and so tiny! I've got her in running around with the granary crew right now. She's very chatty and adorable. 

And Mootie...

...prefers egg crates as a bed! She has MULTIPLE fluffy soft cat beds to choose from but no. She likes to sleep on egg crates. Love this old gal!
And in other news, we now own TWO quarter horses... 

Gen, the bay mare on the left, has been boarding here for months. Her mama has decided Gen needed a stable forever home, so she has given Gen to us and we are thrilled to have her. She has heaves so she lives outside year round, but she's a gentle, lovely girl who is easy to care for and ride. And Roo loves her (sometimes a little too much when she is in heat! For a gelding, Roo can be awfully, er, randy!) So now we've got ourselves THREE horses, three ponies, and of course, this guy...

...Saul now has a fly mask! I had to special-order it from our local tack shop, but he is very good about wearing it. The flies really ravage his ears in summer, so I'm glad he's got protection. And yes, he can see through the mask. I didn't know anything about fly masks until I got equines, but they are made of breathable mesh, and most horses don't mind them at all. That said, Jimmy the pony likes to rip his off in the pasture and make me hunt for it.

So things are good here at the farm. Thank you for reading! Peace and love.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Still covered in kittens

Yes, I'm still here... I got pretty bummed out after my last post, what with losing so many foster kittens in such a short period of time. And right after that, a few militant vegans decided they would come to my farm Facebook page and start attacking me for not being vegan. One young woman called me a "killer and torturer of innocent beings", "a hypocrite" and "fake animal lover" because I dare to keep rescue animals while not being vegan. She was so awful, I had to have Gordon send her a lawyer letter telling her to cease and desist or we would call the police; this after she libelled me and posted a threat against me on a public forum.

 I did not invite any of these people to my Facebook page; a herd of them just decided to come to attack me after one of their group members messaged me to tell me how confused and disappointed she was that I wasn't vegan, after which I went onto my FB page to say that I don't feel I owe anyone an explanation but I am very transparent about not being vegan, and I explained my thoughts on the subject. I did not in any way criticize vegans; I in fact expressly asked people not to leave negative comments towards vegans in response. I was just trying to make sure no one was under any illusions that I run a vegan farm sanctuary, which I do not. 

And I am ready to throw my vegan cookbooks onto the bonfire.

I know most vegans are NOT militant and are not cruel; I have friends who are vegans, I eat a lot of vegan/vegetarian food and meals myself, and if you're looking for a meat eater to pick on, I'm not your best target  (although granted, I'm an easy target, until you realize I am married to a lawyer!) as I mainly eat vegetarian meals, with some fish and the very occasional piece of locally-farmed organic chicken. But even if I ate steak three times a day, I don't see how that is anyone's business, and I find it disgusting that total strangers would come to my farm Facebook page where I share photos of the animals I've rescue and am fostering and spending all my money on, and call me a "killer and torturer of innocent beings." After the sadness of losing so many kittens last month, it just made me incredibly angry and bitter to be attacked in this way. In fact, a month later I am still angry and bitter, and am spending extra time meditating in an effort to let go of that. However, the whole episode did remind of me of why I generally prefer the company of animals to that of humans. But I am not a hermit, and there are some really amazing people in my life, and I need to focus on that, and not the horrible people.

But on a happier note, foster kitty Agnes went to her new home recently. Yes, that's right, this poor young cat who lost her six babies and suffered immeasurably is now living in a wonderful home where she is loved and pampered.

I could not be happier for her. The woman who adopted her lost a son some time ago, and told me that she felt she understood Agnes and how she was feeling. This lady and her family are incredibly kind, and I know Agnes has landed in clover and will now have a wonderful life.

Meanwhile, Jewel and her seven kitten are doing great! Jewel arrived at around the same time as Agnes with five kittens. She lost two of those, took on four preemie orphans, lost those four, then at the end of April, took on another four orphans whose mother had been dragged off and killed by a coyote.  A passerby witness this and saved the kittens. Jewel took them on immediately. She is a fantastic mother! And now I've got seven beautiful, healthy foster kittens. Jewel's three were born April 13, and the orphans were born around April 29.

Everybody is on solid food now! This is Jewel with her dilute Calico daughter.

These are Jewel's four adopted babies:

Boy and Girl

Boy and girl

Aren't the adorable? Everyone is going in for their first set of vaccines last week, and I feel like I will be able to breathe a bit more easily after that.

Behold the cuteness;

It is so amazing to see these little ones doing so well! And a great relief. What happened in April completely drained and exhausted me; these little kitties are making me feel a whole lot better.

And remember Grayson, aka Fake Grace? Well...

My friend Deb of Just Cats ADOPTED HIM! He is now named Wilson, and he has settled in so well to his wonderful new home. I could not be happier for him, and as you can see, Wilson is pretty happy too. He has the best smile of any cat I have ever known.

So many things are going well, and with time I will let go of my anger and hurt towards the person who attacked me, but I would say that if you claim to live a "cruelty-free" life solely because you are vegan, but then go on to call me a "torturer and killer of innocent beings" a "hypocrite" and a "fake animal lover" (me, the one who spends all her time, energy and money caring for animals no one else wants!), and you smear me on the internet and make threats, and waste my precious time, time I need to be spending caring for animals... well... how cruelty-free is that?

Here's to all the good people who DO support me in my work with animals, without caring about what I eat.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Kitten roller coaster aka the week that broke my heart

So April 12,  I took in a beautiful cat named Agnes, and her six adorable kittens...

...and by April 21, every kitten was dead... but not, thank God, Agnes.

This little fellow was the first to go.

Everything seemed okay when they arrived, although Agnes was a first-time mama (who came to me from Operation Spay + Neuter in Hawkesbury) who not had the best of care before arriving at OSN.

At first, her babies were feeding well. But the Monday after she arrived, one orange baby started fading. So we rushed off to the vet. Agnes had a bit of a temperature but seemed okay otherwise, so she got a shot of long-lasting antibiotic.

By Thursday, I had lost more orange babies and was back at the vet. Agnes' temperature was higher, so she had an x-ray (to check that nothing was going on in her uterus, like a retained kitten or placenta.) Apart from her temperature, she seemed reasonably well, so she was started on another antibiotic, and Peter the vet taught me how to tube-feed the three remaining babies, who had started losing weight the day I brought them in. I would also give them Clavamox via the tube.

Tube-feeding is now my super-power, lol.  I can do it when I am so tired I can barely put two words together And it is a tool I will now always have at my disposal if I ever have to help fading kittens again (which I probably will, since I intend to continue fostering!)

So from Thursday night to later Saturday, I tube-fed those babies every two to three hours, including through the night...

I learned that two nights of this kind of interrupted sleep is all I can handle. My concussion symptoms even started to recur! Althoguh I don't do well with sleep deprivation, I was determined to give it my best shot, so I hauled my ass out of bed, went to the granary, prepped the formula, and fed those babies. Sometimes around 3 am Saturday, I did not properly close the shaker bottle I was using to mix formula, and managed to spray Kitten Milk Replacer all over myself, including my hair. 

It was not my best moment, but I got those babies fed and went back to bed, figuring my own cats would lick the milk out of my hair. Plus I had to get up again in three hours, so no time to waste cleaning up splattered milk.

The little black kitten and the little calico had been hanging on through several feedings.

Then the black one started to fade.

And died.

Still,  I kept rooting for this girl...

She was the only female in the litter, a beautiful little calico.

I believed she had it in her to overcome what was happening (likely issues with Agnes' milk quality and supply, due to her infection.) 

I so wanted this little angel to make it...

...but she didn't. 

I can't even remember now exactly when she died, I was so exhausted after two nights of feedings. But when she did, I was just so sad. I really thought she'd survive. Well, I hoped she would.

And that wasn't all...

I also took in Jewel and her five babies, born April 13...

Beautiful Jewel

Jewel's littlest died right after I got her from Operation Spay + Neuter, then her grey boy died soon after that. I was (and am) so tired, I can't even remember the timeline. But in a short time these two foster cats lost eight kittens.

Agnes was a great mama but she is young, had no vet care before being take in by Operation Spay + Neuter. and of course, had an infection to boot.

Jewel is also young, but has managed to keep three of her babies going...

Touch wood, they are nice fat butterballs right now and turn two weeks old this Friday.

And then last Sunday, I took in these four premature kittens, and Jewel happily accepted them...

Crazy tiny!

Their mama was EIGHT MONTHS old and had zero interest in them after giving birth. Their birth scene was a bloody mess; one kitten was still in her placental sac, and two of the six kittens died right away. We decided to give it our best shot, but by this morning, I'd lost three of the four, and tonight the last one is very weak. I think they were just too premature to survive, but it was worth a try. I have read that any kitten under 90 grams is considered premature; these four weighed from 72 - 85 grams. Still, they were nursing off Jewel so I had some hope.

In the past week, I've dealt with 11 kitten deaths, and probably will have another in the morning, which not only makes me sad, it makes me angry. I am so pissed off at all the irresponsible, uncaring people out there who refuse to spay/neuter their cats, and treat them as disposable items... people who do not care about the suffering of animals, nor the suffering of the people who end up caring for them, only to lose them. Not only does the world not need more kittens, it does not need more kittens born to poorly-fed, unvaccinated mothers who have never been to a vet's office because the owner couldn't be bothered to take them there.

I am well aware of the fragility of kittens, but even so, 11 is a lot, and every death made me sad. By the time I got to bed Saturday night, after the little calico died, I was exhausted, angry and crying. It just felt really raw. For someone who cares about animals as much as I do, it was a bit much to see these kittens fading away one by one. I am so sick and tired of irresponsible people who don't care about their cats and don't spay/neuter. We have WAY too many cats in our area, and all of these needless suffering is utterly preventable.

But then, I still have these three...

Jewel's orange-and-white baby today

Jewel's dilute calico baby today

Jewel's tuxedo baby today

Please send good thoughts for these three. Like I said, they are doing well, but they are young yet. Their eyes have just opened and you can see they are getting ready to explore. I want them all the have long, happy lives with excellent families!!!

And another bright note, look at Grayson, aka Fake Grace...

He has been here for something like five weeks, and in that time I've had him neutered, microchipped and vaccinated. And in all that time, he never made a sound: not a hiss, or a purr or a meow. He didn't scratch or bite or even struggle. He was almost catatonic, if you'll forgive the pun. But on Sunday, he cracked.

Grayson pushed his face into my hand as I scratched him. THen he rolled on his side. Then... he PURRED!!!

And today he gave me bologna tongue...

So for all the sadness this past week, there is some happiness too! Such is life.

Please, spay/neuter your cats!

PS: I got another poem published, this time at Love's Executive Order!