Saturday, February 27, 2010

UGH! DIGGING OUT AGAIN!

Another storm. Almost everyone is accounted for, except Thomas Moore and Dear Prudence.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

SEEING DUODECUPLE (!)

When my kids were little they went through a stage where they loved to scribble on paper with crayons, but they could never understand why applying too much color turned their masterpiece gray. Like layers of crayon colors, this colony has produced cats that are a solid shade of gray.They reside in a busy commercial area of what is considered one of the most affluent towns in the country. And, yes, a former US President and the current US Secretary of State live here, as well famous actors, heads of industry, etc.; however, homeless cats still wander the fringes of this toney suburban landscape looking for food and shelter. My friend "D" and I, along with the support of "Community Cats," are slowly but surely trapping, spaying and neutering the colony. As of this week, we have done TNR for seven of the twelve cats. Perhaps the greatest obstacle, aside from the fact that these cats are nearly identical and the classic TNR ear tipping can be difficult to discern, is that the local SPCA has a limited number of slots for TNR. As the hours of daylight grow longer, the chances of females becoming pregnant increases dramatically. It is a race to spay before pregnancies are too far along. Another eight to ten weeks and kitten season will be upon us!
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

PHANTOM LURKING ABOUT


Phantom is waiting for me to leave the feeding area so he can chase the other cats away from the food dish. Three colony members---all males: Phantom, Thomas Moore, and Crybaby--hail from other colonies. In all liklihood, they were in search of new territory when they discovered a food source and shelter at Stone Ledge. Although all have been neutered, they still engage in territorial disputes from time to time. I have found that it takes three to six months from neutering for all the hormones to disapate and everyone to settle down. Phantom, however, still loves to scare the heck out of the girls when they are trying to eat--even if he is not hungry.  Like a teenage boy who loves to tease and taunt girls, Phantom just likes getting a little attention.

Monday, February 15, 2010

DIGGING OUT


Delilah surveying the storms aftermath
Finally, five days after the storm, all cats are accounted for. I was growing worried about Midnight and Tom Moore, but they both showed up to eat today, looking none the worse for wear. Tom, who almost always sleeps in his feral house, must had taken a holiday, as no little paw prints were in the snow near his shelter. Midnight does not, to my knowledge, use the feral houses, so I was worried that she might have gotten trapped in a hole or in someone's shed or garage. Ah, the imagination runs wild!

Delilah venturing out

Samson hates the snow. It took a lot for him to come out of his cozy lair for a quick breakfast. Perhaps one day he will retire to being an indoor cat....


Phantom in a feeding shelter. He will eat in any weather!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A NICE CUP OF HOT TEA

Snow is falling as a February blizzard muscles its way across the Midwest and Northeast. I spent most of yesterday obsessively checking and rechecking food and water bowls—trying to leave enough for a late afternoon snack, but not enough to attract late night, unwanted visitors. I am happy to have raccoons and fox nibbling, but not Mr. “C.”


I normally do not leave food late in the day, but since I will not be able to feed the cats during the blizzard, I wanted them to end the day with full bellies. Hopefully, everyone made it back to a shelter before the snows came down hard at around midnight. I have two other colonies I oversee, and did the same for these kitties.

I was especially crazed because everyone at Stone Ledge was accounted for and had eaten except for Midnight. I had not seen her for two days and was worried that, with the storm coming, she might not get to eat for another two days. (While she might hunt for food, I do not believe that she would consume a sufficient amount of calories in the cold weather.)

I went back to Stone Ledge one last time to check for her at about 4PM, and just as the skies were beginning to darken, Midnight came sauntering out of the thicket, meowing for her dinner. She ate a decent amount of food before Cry Baby frightened her away. He and Phantom are foodies and often chase the girls away from the food bowls.


Prudence, thankfully, is convalescing at "Community Cats" and missing out on the chilling winds and drifting snows. I feel sooo fortunate to have nabbed her right before the weather turned nasty.


Counting only the cats cared for under the auspices of Community Cats, in a small portion of Northern Westchester County, I believe that well over 100 homeless felines were assisted through today’s storm. By assistance, I mean that they have food, water, and some type of feral shelter. This is only a small portion of the colony managed cats in the county, as several other rescue groups are also hard at work providing food and shelters.


TIP: I’m sure that most colony caregivers are aware that a little sugar in a bowl of warm water goes a long way to prevent freezing. I add approximately one teaspoon per cup of warm water. I must admit that when the temperatures are below freezing for more than a day, I sometimes add a quick dash of salt with the sugar. (Too much salt is not good as the cats will only be thirstier.) As my friend and cat rescue mentor “D” says, “On a cold day, it’s like having a nice cup of hot tea to sip on.”

Monday, February 8, 2010

DEAR PRUDENCE - TRAPPED AT LAST!

I have finally trapped Dear Prudence! After seeing her on New Year's Day, I placed an old "Have-a-Heart" trap near the shed where she lives. I removed the trap door so I could put food inside and get her accustomed to entering the trap to eat. She ate inside the cage for about a week. Then, just when I thought she was primed for trapping, she disappeared again. I pretty much gave up any hope of catching her.

Three days ago, out of nowhere, she reappeared. Again, I placed food in the "dummy" trap. She ate it and retreated under the shed. The next day--which was yesterday-- I replaced the trap door. I was ready to give it one more try--before she took off again. Naturally, Prudence was a "no show"--or was she? I had a gut feeling that she might have seen me baiting the trap and was waiting for me to leave the area. (Were those dark eyes watching me again?) I placed a small can of Fancy's "Ocean Fish Feast" in the back of the trap and returned to my car to wait.

Normally, I keep my eyes fixed on a trap in case it malfunctions. I am always concerned that a cat might get partially stuck and injured in some way. I also watch because I don't want other animals such as skunk going for the bait. This time, however, I did not watch because I felt it would bring "bad luck." I have learned that most trappers have little "good luck" trapping habits. One friend would not think of catching a cat without having a double expresso latte in the car with her. Another will not trap without her "lucky" green sweater. I knew that if I stared at the trap--like the proverbial watched pot that never boils--I would never catch my cat. Yet, when I walked back towards the trap ten minutes later, I still could not believe my eyes---Prudence was in the cage!

Prudence tested negative for both FIV and FELV. The vet said she showed no signs of currently nursing kittens, which would have meant releasing her immediately back to Stone Ledge. Fortunately, with the advent of internal stitches, this would have been possible had it been necessary.**

Tonight, Dear Prudence is resting comfortably at "Community Cats," a wonderful feline sanctuary/rescue center in Bedford, New York. She'll remain there for four or five nights until being released home to Stone Ledge.

** Although it is a cold February in the greater New York area, queens have been showing up pregnant or with winter litters!