Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry merry!


Yeah I know, I'm on a roll! Three posts in a week... what is the world coming to? Wishing all of you who celebrate it a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2018

They were not impressed

Happy Christmas eve! The equines are not feeling it, lol...


Sandy refused to look at me.



Gen was patient about it all.




Jimmy was rocking it.



Roo preferred a hat.



Saul was long-suffering.


Whatever you celebrate this holiday season, hope it's a good one for you! 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Ash



 Ash

The year is drawing to a close, and I am reflecting on all the cats I have adopted out this year. It is MADNESS! I was a bit shocked to add up the numbers and discover I took in 60 cats and kittens, and have adopted out 55 (and that doesn't count the 13 kittens that died in April!) This is why I am now my veterinary practice's second biggest client after the OSPCA, lol.

 The five felines  that haven't left are Taya, (failed foster, now a permanent resident!) Peaches  (being fostered by my friend Sharron), Lucy, (in a room in my house while we deal with her medical issues), Artemis (5-month-old kitten who was shot in the leg and will be here for the foreseeable future; it looks like she will need her front right leg amputated), and Oliver (who was returned to me after a year and a half because... don't get me started! He is my idea of the perfect cat and everyone who has met him here agrees with me.)

At the start of 2018, I took in five kittens with absolutely no intention of taking in another 55 felines in the ensuing months. This year has been insane, but I have learned so much. I have been sorely tested and disappointed by a couple of people, but for the most part, I have dealt with a lot of really amazing human beings who have given me help along the way, not to mention the fantastic people who have adopted all these beautiful cats. It was never my goal in life to run a cat shelter, and yet here I am, doing what I thought I could never do, and finding it very satisfying.

 My goal for next year is to do a better job of balancing everything so that I can spend more time doing the other things I love: writing, making art, and riding my horse. Also there have been times this year when I have been exhausted, which is not something I need at my age. So I am working on that too. You need really strong boundaries to do this cat rescue work, and I am getting better at defending my boundaries all the time, but it can be really difficult to say "no" to a cat in need, But you must! A person can only do so much. It's tough for an introvert like me to be dealing with people all the time, but at the same time, I have been so amazed and touch by the support and kindness I have received from so many in 2018. 

And then there's my friend and right-hand cat-woman, Sharron. I can't say enough good things about this beautiful being, Sharron has been there every step of the way this year, volunteering her time to help the cats she loves. She comes to the farm many times a week to clean litter-boxes, wash cat bowls, clean up the granary, and most importantly, to spend time with the cats. She has the most amazing way with them, and I truly believe her love for and care of this kitties is a large part of the reason I do so well adopting out these cats to great homes. She is amazing at socializing them!  She understands cats so very well, and  is an absolute godsend to me. She will even do things like surprise me with tacos and chai lattes and all manner of things that brighten my days. She is also the person who adopted the Georgie, the one-eyed kitten I fostered for the OSPCA in 2017. I told Sharron the other day that I couldn't do this without her. She said I could. Well, maybe I could, but it would be a lot more difficult.  I am so grateful to have her in my life.

There have been some beautiful adoption stories this year. Let me tell you about Ash...



Ash was found shivering on a porch in Cornwall. He had lost weight and has a nasty bite wound on his leg. The person concerned for him contacted me. It's funny; I didn't really have space at the time. On top of that, I hate talking on the phone (introvert!) and usually let it go to call answer unless it's someone I know. Yet on this one particular day,  I picked up the phone when it was a number I didn't know. It turned out to be the call about Ash. It was a nurse who worked at the nearby hospital. She wanted to help him, but couldn't keep him because she was in a rental and already had a cat. My first impulse was to say no, but as she talked, my resolve weakened and I agreed to take him in.

I'm so glad I did!



I got Ash off the vet asap. Sadly, he tested positive for FIV (not the end of the world, but he would need some special care.) And the vet took one look at the deep hole in his rear leg and scheduled surgery. While Ash was under, he was also neutered, then sent home with a fine set of sutures along his back leg...


I really wasn't sure how easy it would be to adopt out a FIV-positive cat but I figured I'd give it a shot! And within a week, I'd received a message about Ash from an older gentleman who had lost his beloved wife to cancer last year.

He owned two geriatric dogs, and was looking for a cat to keep him company. Would Ash fit the bill? I invited him to come for a visit. And it turned out the man shared my last name and was from England,  like my parents. His accent so reminded me of my father's.

Mr. Rowe and Ash hit it off immediately. Mr. Rowe used to rescue ferals, had a good understanding of FIV and was undaunted by it. Ash would be an indoor, only cat, so no worries about transmission of the virus. While he sat cuddling Ash, I learned a bit about Mr. Rowe.  He was a former RAF fighter pilot who flew Spitfires. At some point he had lost his leg and walked with "a stick." His lovely wife had succumbed to a genetic breast cancer at the age of 65, and it was clear to me how much he loved and missed her. Now he was looking for a feline buddy to keep him company on the couch while he watched TV, and bring a bit of kitty personality to the household.

Mr. Rowe left with Ash that day.

The dogs and Ash needed a bit of time to get used to each other, but they have worked things out in short order. Ash now sits next to Mr. Rowe at night while they enjoy their favourite shows, and he sleeps on Mr. Rowe's bed (and sometimes chest!) at night. I could not be happier with how life has worked out for this big, affectionate grey cat.

Stories like this are what keep me going; for every nutjob you meet in cat rescue, there are 100 kind, caring, fantastic people to make up for it. 

And happy endings like this one.


Update: Oliver's former owner took exception to my characterization here of her relationship with him,  and sarcastically called me "Saint Natalie", so I have removed the offending reference. For all of you who are interested, I am not and have never claimed to be a saint. I just like cats. I do, however, think Oliver is a perfect cat and I stand by that statement. Clearly he was not the right cat for his previous owners. Also, yes, I want to take cats back if their owners no longer want them, and it's in the adoption contract, but that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it. Oliver was in his home for a year and a half, and now he's back here, while his feline sister got to stay. I am sad for Oliver, not for Oliver's human.






Sunday, November 25, 2018

Kitties 'n' stuff

My friend Debs of Deborah Wilson Photography came yesterday to take photos. Here's a teaser! :) Emerson was SO into it!!


Deborah can make anyone look great... it's amazing! And she takes such beautiful photographs. I can't wait to see the rest of the pictures from yesterday. She took photos of us with the goats, the dogs, the horses, the foster kitties...

Speaking of foster kitties, James is still looking for a home...



He was born here at the farm to foster kitty Valerie on July 11. He's a very sweet little boy with a wonderful purr. Just a happy, well-socialized little soul.

And I took this poor lad in last week...


Ash was freezing on someone's porch for a week before he came here. As it turned out, he had a deep bite wound to his rear leg, plus an upper respiratory infection. He was also in possession of a large pair of nuts, and unfortunately he has tested positive for FIV, but he can live with other non-FIV cats so long as they get along (no biting!)

I took Ash in Thursday for his first check-up. On Friday he was neutered,  and his bite wound was cleaned out and stitched up. Poor guy has to wear a cone for two weeks. He's the sweetest cat! 13 pounds of mellowed-out loooove. I am looking forward to finding him the purrfect home.


I have eye drops for that winky eye!



What a sweetheart!


Meanwhile, I need to get cracking on Molly....




Molly is a sweet, quiet, affectionate brown tabby girl about three years old. She has been spayed and just needs her final booster shots. She's in the granary with my "tabby trifecta" right now (Pip, Fanny, Taya) but Fanny is a bit of a bully towards Molly, so Molly tends to hang out upstairs. She is a perfect little cat! Just such a nice girl. She would probably be fine with other cats if they aren't pushy beeyotches like Fanny! LOL

And little Lucy...


...Lucy is off the market for now while I get her health issues sorted out. She is being treated for toxoplasmosis and we are crossing our fingers that that is all that's wrong with her... she has responded extremely well to the Clindamycin she is on, and has not had a seizure since we began that treatment. It will be another couple of months before we have the full story on Lucy, but for now she has a big room to herself in my house, with a view of the birdfeeder. We try to give her lots of attention; she can't be with other kitties right now. She is the sweetest kitten and if her health checks out,  my friend Beccy will be adopting her.



James, Michael and Jack (rear.) Aren't these three the cutest? James and Michael are brothers born to Valerie and Jack is their adopted brother, who was taken on by Valerie when he was just a little fellow. Jack and Michael both have great homes lined up. Now I just need to find one for James!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend. We are going to "Cats on Your Mats" yoga today in support of the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry OSPCA.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Second annual Spay Café at Bee Meadow Farm!


Our 2nd annual SPAY CAFÉ is Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 2 pm to 4 pm at the farm! Delicious lattes served up by baristas Viv and Ang, along with baked goods. Gift basket raffle! All proceeds go to the spay/neuter fund for our foster cats!


My beautiful failed-foster cat Fanny will be keeping a close eye on the baked goods!


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Crumpets 'n' stuff

My Dad was a big crumpet fan. He made me a big crumpet fan.


There's not too much to them, so I don't know why I like them so much. But I do, along with a cuppa tea. Maybe because it's an excuse to eat butter.

I was toasting crumpets yesterday and I heard my Dad's voice telling me to make them "nice and crispy!" As in almost burned. Of course, he was the one who left his Marks & Spencer Extra-strong teabag in the mug as he drank his extra-EXTRA strong tea! He liked things well-done, except for his meat, which he preferred medium-rare. He was an excellent cook, and I can still taste his chili and his split-pea soup. 

My Dad's been gone for 26 year; I still miss him. My parents split up when I was eight, but I spoke to my Dad on the phone every single day (in the days before cell phones!) until I was well into high school. As I grew older, he was the one person I could turn to for support and advice when I had a problem, and I always knew he would listen well and give me the help I needed. I knew he had my best interests at heart. Sometimes I still want to call him up to talk to him... we always used to start out conversations talking about what we were having or had just had for supper. Food was important to both of us! I still have his phone number memorized, even though he died when I was 28. He lived in the same apartment for the last 18 years of his life. I had a dream about him the other night. I was trying to call him, but I couldn't get through. I often have that dream about him and I just see it as my desire to talk to him coming out in my subconscious.

Meanwhile in foster-kitten land...


...Jack thought he'd sample a power tool.

And this week I have gotten in some horseback riding...


...the best place to be!


Everybody had burrs in their tails and manes when we got back from our trip. but I have them all sorted out now. I wish my hair look as good as Roo's!




Saturday, October 20, 2018

Back to reality....

Not that reality is so terrible, but I could have done with two more weeks in Spain. The trip was great; I love Spain, plus we get to visit our friends Mitchell and Jerry (of Mitchell is Moving) which is always wonderful. And as Mitchell notes in a recent blog post, we all forgot to take pictures of each other. Instead we just photographed the delicious rice pudding cake three of the four of us had for dessert! :)

I met Mitchell through blogging and met him (and Jerry!) in person for the first time on our last trip to Spain two years ago. It's amazing how it can feel like you have known someone forever, when you've only met each other in person twice! I wish we were geographically closer, but we'll definitely be visiting them again the next time we are Spain.

I loved every part of our trip, but our two horseback riding trips were the highlight for me. Here are pics from my very favourite ride....



We went with an outfit called Riding Fun in the Sun, led by Jo. It was fantastic! One of my fav holiday rides ever.


Wind turbines in the distance


We rode through these herds of cows, which I found just hilarious. Because the cows are herded by men on horseback, they are  inclined to walk or run away from horses, and so don't cause problems on rides. Occasionally a young, curious cow will come up to the horses, but they are easily shooed away.



That said, near the end of the ride, one of the cows actually wanted to play with one of the horses! The cow was jumping and frolicking, until he got sent packing by Jo. it was pretty cute.

Riding makes me extremely happy. I came home vowing to make it more of a priority in my life, particularly since I was so burnt-out and exhausted at the start of the trip. My goal is not to let that happen again. I love rescuing cats and kittens, but I also need to be more careful about looking after myself, because I'm no spring chicken anymore! :) One of the things I have let slide is writing on my blog, which is something I really enjoy, so I am also going to try to make sure I make time for that!


Another two weeks in Spain would have been great, but we were both definitely more relaxed by the time we got on the plane home Thursday.

Have a great weekend!

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

Hola!

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...


Genalguacil

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.