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!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Poem anyone?

Looking for something to read? I have another poem up on Mused...

This is me and Nanny, my paternal grandmother and the inspiration for my poem. 

I remember that kitchen very well.

Mother to six children, and the only grandparent of whom I have memories.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The saga of Grace

Well! It has been quite the week... 

So back at the end of December,  I took in a shy but lovely foster kitty named Grace.

At first, she was very timid, hiding up in a tire on the cat-room wall. But with patience and love, she came around, with the help of sardines and some extra TLC from my cat-whisperer friend Sharron. Grace started to purr when we pet her, giving us a glimpse of her sweet personality.  It wasn't long before Grace was offered a fur-ever home.  I was thrilled when my friend's mom-in-law and husband adopted Grace. They are seniors, and it would be a quiet, loving home for Grace. And my friend, who was smitten with this grey girl, but whose own hubby is allergic to cats, would get to see Grace regularly!

So this former denizen of the Miss Hawkesbury restaurant parking lot went off to live in her beautiful new home.  My friend's son (Grace's owners grandson) built Grace a wonderful big scratching post. They bought Grace an amazing cat tree and put it by the kitchen windows, and she perched there as she dreamed of assassinating the fat mourning doves and twitching Chickadees that came and went form the feeders just beyond the glass. Grace's new cat-parents absolutely doted on her.

Then just over a week ago, the front door was accidentally left ajar. Grace saw her chance, and scooted out in search of adventure.

And didn't come back!

Search parties were arranged. Posters were stuck to poles. "LOST CAT" posts flooded the internet.Veterinary clinics and the OSPCA were called, and everyone in the village that Grace lives in was alerted to her absence. Sharron and I went down to look for her one day, and then Sharron kindly went back on her own a few more times to search for Grace in the snow. Grace's owners also continued to call out to and look for her. They put her bed and litter box outside, hoping that her own scent would show her the way home.

Then they heard reports of a new grey cat hanging out at the feed mill down the street. So they borrowed a live trap from me, and set out to catch this cat. Which they did, last Saturday.

Grace took the lure of tuna and went straight into the trap. Her owners picked up the trap and noted that Grace was, well, a bit wild, but what cat wouldn't be spooked by such an experience? Trapping is hard on cats. Grace had been trapped before when Operation Spay + Neuter in Hawkesbury rescued her from a restaurant parking lot. So Grace's humans put the cage in the trunk and drove home,. They brought the cage inside, and let Grace out.

Grace freaked out a bit, which really wasn't like her, but still, it had been a traumatic experience. She bolted from the cage and made a beeline for the TV cabinet. Then she left there and booted it for the bedroom., where she again promptly hid.  Her owners put a litter box and food nearby. The box was used, the food disappeared, but still Grace continued to hide. And then, just a soupçon of doubt... Grace's hu-mom emailed me:

It may be Grace. I'm still not sure.

Grace continued to hide. Suspicion continued to grow.

It may be Grace. I still can't see her whole body.

The village Grace lives in isn't very big. Really,  how many new stray grey cats could be showing up there the same weekend that Grace disappeared? But something wasn't right. Grace's hu-mom emailed me again:

I still can't get a good look at her. Bedroom smells "feedmill". I'm not sure if a cat can pick up the scent of where it has been or if this cat has lived there for a while.

We all wanted this cat to be Grace. Everyone was devastated by her disappearance, and just wanted Grace back in her cozy bed. But instead, Grace was hiding out under the bed and refusing to interact with her humans. There was no growling, hissing, or spitting, but there was no purring either. When her hu-mom reached under the bed to stroke Grace's back, she closed her eyes and cowered. They could touch Grace, but she made no effort to move towards them. Another email arrived...

1:30 on Monday.Grace (if it is her)continues to be elusive.

  You can see where this is going. At this point,  I was pretty sure we were dealing with:

Then, another message:

I don't think this cat is Grace.

Yeah, me neither. Much as I wanted it to be Grace, much as we all did, unless she had had a lobotomy, this cat was not Grace. But then, a glimmer of hope! Another email arrrived:

There is another grey cat that comes toward the house every evening , sometimes goes under the deck. It looks more like "Grace" size-wise but I have not been able to catch it or get really close to it.

Whaaaaat!? That HAD to be REAL GRACE! Once again, Sharron went over to help. She suggested that Grace's owners set the live trap next to the deck where cat footprints had been seen. The trap was baited with delicious, stinky tuna. At 9:30 last Thursday night, a week after Grace had disappeared, I got a call from her hu-mom.:

I caught a grey cat! I'm SURE it's Grace. When I stick my fingers in the trap, she meows and comes over to me.

Jubilation! Grace was home! My friend Sharron, who had by this point lost hope, woke up at 11 pm to read to my joyful  text message: 

She got Grace in the trap! And if it's not Grace, we will soon have caught every grey cat in the village!

 We all slept well for the first time in a week.

But now what to do about FAKE GRACE camped out in real Grace's home? Sharron did manage to get a photo of him/her, hiding under the bed...

Fake Grace

Real Grace

Well, I messaged my friend Elizabeth at Operation Spay + Neuter, who had originally trapped Grace. She came down with me on a mission to catch the imposter. 

Elizabeth is very experienced with catching cats: ferals, scared kitties, you name it. She's a pro. She came with me down to Grace's place, and quickly sized up the situation. The kitty under the bed was scared. not feral. Kitty also had a substantial set of testicles! And within ten minutes, Liz had gently scruffed him and put him in the cat carrier. 

And he is now in a room in my barn, awaiting a vet visit and neutering. What comes after that, I'm not sure, but we named him Grayson, and he is now safe. Still hiding, but safe. No doubt Sharron will soon be working her sardine magic on him.

And Grace has her home back to herself...

I don't think she is the least bit sorry for the worry she caused! But her family is so happy to have her back. Her hu-mom called it the week from hell.  I am just so relieved this sweet girl is back where she belongs. She really does have the best family. And the front door that was left ajar is being repaired so that it closes properly.

Maybe a week on the run in the snow will convince Grace that the outdoor life is no longer for her! And things are looking better for Grayson, too, now that he's off the streets, and the credit have rolled on this feline version of Trading Places.

Grayson doesn't look sorry either.

In other news, check out this pic of my former foster kitty George, aka Pirate Kitty, who was adopted by Sharron...

Isn't he magnificent?

And next Saturday, March 24th, I am holding another fundraiser to raise money for the veterinary care for my foster kitties...

If you would like to attend, let me know! Contact info is the flyer. We are an hour east of Ottawa and an hour west of Montreal.

And as you can see, cat rescue is not for the faint of heart! Many thanks for all the supportive comments on my previous post. I am going to keep doing this crazy foster cat thing! Have a great weekend.