Not a Serial Killer

Acknowledges that I’m not a serial killer, but hating my hugs since 2010.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with the need to cuddle Sookie very much against her will. I know I’m setting back whatever fragile trust we have established, but the opportunities to simply scoop her up are rare. Of all my cats, she has the softest lush, bunny fur, partly why I let her choose me at the shelter. She instantly stress sheds about 20 pounds of that bunny softness all over me in retaliation. At least these days she sashays away snorting indignantly- How dare I!- instead of fleeing for her life.

Almost literally pouring cats and dogs at least in underground piping!

It’s been a busy week for one of my favorite shelters, Colony Cats and Dogs.

Monday, they helped to initiate the rescue of a dog trapped underground in a sewer pipe. They speculate that the dog was chasing critters into the pipe and got lost then trapped.

Tuesday led to more underground drama…with another happy ending which is a good thing or I think I would be a mess.

At about 11:30, I saw that the shelter had posted a video of their surveillance footage on their Facebook page. (Follow the link for videos) Around 4 am that morning, someone had left three very spry and curious kittens at the shelter’s door without containment. The kittens jump up to interact with the big cats behind the glass then, according to the volunteers, one stayed behind and the other two set off to the right of what is essentially a strip mall and giant parking lot full of businesses.

For once, for whatever reason, I decided to respond to the call for volunteers who could come search for the two wanderers who had  a 7 hour head start. I checked in with a volunteer who was cleaning the still closed shelter. She was a little hesitant as I’m not an official volunteer, but I’m familiar enough with the shelter and have adopted from there plus I was a warm body willing to aimlessly walk around in the rain looking for something the size of a softball.

She showed me the one kitten they had, a hissy little ball of fluff in the back of a giant carrier, and sent me on my way. I decided to walk around even though she suggested driving and said others had been driving around the area stopping at dumpsters, hoping food smells would attract the kittens.

I more or less decided to take a lap around the shopping center, checking out landscaping as I went. This plaza has an open courtyard midway with large hostas and dense shrubs which seemed like a good place to check out. I worked my way along the plant bed, and had  success when I bumped into some rain-soaked hostas. Two little bodies shot out from under the hostas, through a clear patch and under a shrub.

HOLY. SHIT.

Brain went into panic mode. What to do? I pulled up Facebook and called the shelter where, of course, no one answered the phone. I tried a mother cat calling kittens video, but I only got sad little squeaks in return. It was an awkward spot and I was afraid that my flailing attempts to grab them would send one or both of the kittens shooting out into a busy parking lot next to an even busier road.

So I ran. I don’t run. I joke that I only run if bears or killers with chainsaws or bears with chainsaws are chasing me, but that I would eventually give up. Fortunately, the volunteer I had talked to and another woman saw me coming and frantically waving. Yes, I had found the kittens!

I followed them through the back alleyways behind all the shops as a quicker way back to the courtyard where we formed a human perimeter around the shrubs. I could see the little gray and white kitten crouched at the base of a shrub across from me. The volunteer scrambled down, grabbed it, and handed the squalling, soaked kitten to me.  I, of course, was ready to go full Lenny, tuck that kitten into my bosom and love it, until they directed me to put it in the carrier. The carrier, that was probably the more responsible route.

Mysteriously the black kitten was no longer there. In a matter of minutes, it had pulled a vanishing act. I was even second guessing what I had seen as people started to question me about finding BOTH the kittens there. But I remembered noticing its mittens as it scurried behind its sibling, an intrepid tuxie. When you’re permanently dressed like James Bond, you tend to also act like him.

Of all the kittens, it had to be least noticeable black one. Of all the weather  conditions, it had to be raining wavering back and forth from mild to pouring. As more volunteers arrived, we spent the next two hours repeatedly combing through the same bushes, crawling through mulch and grass, sure that the kitten was hidden in plain sight. (The dead mummified duck in the second set of bushes surprised me every time.)Crawling under larger bushes, dumpsters, and a concrete thing that I don’t know what it was for but there was A LOT of shit, including a cat bed, down in it. A volunteer with a heat sensor showed up and ran it over the dense bushes. We did expanding laps around the shopping center, and reconvened to theorize on kitten logic. Plates of smelly food were put out, live traps were discussed, but no one was really sure how to proceed. The rain made all of the open downspouts in the area an obvious and  horrifying possibility as to where the kitten could have gone to in such a short time.

I trudged back around to the shelter with the group feeling like a quitter, but completely unsure of what to do next. I was soaked from shoes to underwear and on the verge of  publicly crying if I stood there talking to people much longer. No matter how miserable I felt, that lost, wet, hungry, scared little furball wherever it was hiding was worse.

Home again, I took an extremely hot shower, put on dry clothes and tried to occupy myself while checking the Facebook thread every few minutes. Should I go back? What could I do? I resolved to go back in an hour if nothing had changed. Basically, my mind would be able to only contain one kitten and nothing else for the rest of the day. Then one of the searchers I had talked to, posted that they had heard some meowing in the courtyard area. Yes, I would go back! Except that they were now sure it was coming from a drain pipe. I was among the frantic back seat drivers, commenting and questioning what could be done!

For the second time in two days, a local fire station stepped in with Colony Cats to save a furry life. I watched video from a conveniently dry and unheroic spot in my house as the rescue was made. I am certain I recognized the boots of one of the early searchers who crawled around on the ground with me, and who, I’m pretty sure, said she was supposed to go to work that day. I know she was as soaked as I was when I last saw her; I don’t think she made it in to work.

I’m so grateful to have been able to help a bit and incredibly grateful that this worked out and that Piper, Pearl and Puck who have their own Facebook page now are safe and already have people clamoring to adopt them. Could time and resources have been saved if I had made a grab for two kittens on my own? I can’t know. Could the person who dropped them off have done so more responsibly? Ab-so-frickin-lutely!

Cole and Marmalade posted a story about the kitten rescue and the dog rescue the day before! They’re kind of a big deal in dorky cat obsessing worlds 🙂 If you’ve made it all the way through my picture-less ramblings, reward yourself with their article which has all the adorable rescued kitten pictures and associated videos your heart can handle.

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Stuff like this makes me hug my warm, dry, VERY well-fed “kittens” extra hard.

Kitten Season

Tis the season for litters of kittens. (Which technically doesn’t end until early fall.)

April showers of kittens bring May clowders?

To help cope with the influx of tiny furballs, my local shelters hold open houses and kitten showers. Just like for human babies only better because…kittens!

I wasn’t able to stop by the shower scheduled for Saturday, so Bird and I spent Saturday evening cutting up fleece kitty blankets which was one of the shower wish list items. All that fabulous hat project fleece will now be snuggling kitty tooshies.IMG_E5697

Again like your basic human baby shower, the shelters put out wish lists and often create them on places like Amazon for easy donations. Common items might be things like:

  • KMR milk replacer formula
  • Unscented non-clumping clay litter
  • Kitten dry and wet food
  • Fleece blankets (Got it!)
  • Toys
  • And, of course, fur-ever homes

So if you haven’t caught my drift yet, I’m suggesting that YOUR local shelter might also have a wish list. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge.

Of course, putting together a donation is just an excuse for me to go pet strange heads. I topped off the blankies with some kitten food and headed over.

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For as well rounded as this beauty was, he or she had the shortest squat tail.

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So many flavors.

This was the tiniest kitty I could find. Either the kitten shower/adoption event was really successful or the clouds are getting ready to burst.

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A Caturday Cattoo

In the name of my cats and their shelters, I’ve bought t-shirts, catnip pillows, spent ridiculous amounts on yearly calendars, dropped off donations ,and petted strange heads. All pretty mild mannered ways to support the kitties.

However last weekend I was offered a bolder option: cattoos!

I really like tattoos and I love cats so…yea…this sounded like the best combination fundraiser ever. (Based on the profit, I’d even propose it for my high school publication if my audience wasn’t 1500 under-aged students.)
Colony Cats & Dogs, former shelter to Sookie and Olivia Wigglebothum, and local tattoo shop Envy teamed up for an amazing fundraiser. All profits went to the shelter; the shop got tips and foot traffic, essentially donating materials and labor. The shop prepared nine flash options-small tattoos that can be applied quickly without variations-at $60 a pop. I was in the chair maybe 10 minutes and most of that time was the artist prepping his station. A couple of lines later and I was on my merry way.img_2948

Miles says it doesn’t look like him, “That cat could be ANYONE.” His classic cat disdain pretty much mirrors Bella’s impression of my back piece which was inspired by her and some artwork purchased on a 17 day road trip. If there aren’t treats, nobody cares.

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While the cats may not have been impressed, the shelter reported an impressive $2600 in the four hours that the fundraiser lasted. The artists cranked out 40 cattoos (there were also a few dog options), and the shelter set up a table in the lobby with pet related jewelry, magnets, stickers, and, of course, catnip pillows.

You know what I bought for the fur kids.

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Kitten Therapy 

The Kitten Room at the shelter is not much bigger than my bathroom; but like the Tardis, the Kitten Room’s power is way bigger on the inside.

In the Kitten Room I am a benevolent tree, an Ent if you will, being climbed by a horde of tiny, squirming creatures, all vying for cuddles. One rooted leg is assailed by a miniature black panther who gives up around my knee. The other leg supports a tiger who may have hit the weight limit for climbing jeans, as his needle-sharp claws dig deep into my hip. Meanwhile a tinier, wiggly tiger is running laps around my neck and periodically sticking his nose in my ear to demonstrate purr potential.

While the slightly larger tiger makes sleepy eyes at me from the crook of my arm, tinier tiger keeps zooming. He stops once in each lap to settle on the convenient shelf my chest makes and nose boop the calmer tiger. Then back to zooming.

Whenever I manage to sit down or bend over, a black and white, cow-spotted kitten gives me “soft pets,”patting at my face with insistent paws. This tears me up a bit as it immediately reminds me of Bella Luna’s possessive paw to my cheek when we first met at her shelter. Cow kitten then hangs out on the elevated foot of my crossed leg.

Forty-five minutes later, I’m covered in strange cat hair and strange smells. I will have to leave my shoes and clothes in the garage when I get home. Windowless, attached garages are essential for extended shelter cat petting. My cats will know I’ve been cheating on them with younger, more enthusiastic versions of themselves. 

Forgiven.

Since I didn’t fall madly in love and bring home a fifth,- this is the miracle of the day– they’ll forgive me.

Meh. Cats.

This is what happens at Christmas when your friends and family are at a loss and just kind of go:

Meh. You like cats. Done.”

Cat Crafting: To be fair, there are several plain cardboard boxes in the living room including a giant Amazon box that some heated birdbaths arrived in.

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Likelihood of my cats sitting in a meticulously handcrafted cardboard creation??

Cat Gaming: I thought this was hilarious,but I guess I’m behind the times because everyone I’ve told about it, already knew about Exploding Kittens. In fact, one friend was even into it at the Kickstarter level! I’ve also learned that there is an ADULT version. Oh, my!

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It’s like Uno, but funnier plus goats and squirrels.

Cat Drinking: I guess the cats and I need to do more of it.dec20168

Two separate friends got me the wine charms, but I think the sets will pair together nicely because it would be a rare occasion for a dozen people to be in my house drinking wine. And who doesn’t want as many cats as possible attached to their wine glass?

My sister got the cat tray and my Brain immediately thought: “Cat ice cubes or tiny cat chocolate molds. Okay.”

So I verbalized it, and she responded with: “Or you could make JELL-O SHOTS!”

Me: “Okay, yeah, Jell-o shots.”

My sister with great enthusiasm:”YES, YOU SHOULD MAKE JELL-O SHOTS!”

Apparently Christmas morning would be vastly improved with cats shaped Jello-shots. We already have bacon so why not?

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Miles would like to remind you that we do indeed like cats, and that there are many cats that would like to start the New Year in a furever home. Go pick out a new friend, or 2 …or 3 today.

 

The ‘ittlest squirrel on squirrel patrol

When I was editing snowy squirrel photos, I realized that I had been very negligent in taking care of my pictures because I had forgotten about this episode from OCTOBER! YEEESHH!

I am just going to boldly claim that this is photographic evidence of the “‘ittlest squirrel in the world.” He or she is probably now one of the well-rounded beasts roaming my yard.

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I am straight up adorbs!

Yesterday’s freezing rain transformed into a gray downpour that then manifested fog. I feel like Guns-n-Roses may have missed the mark with November Rain. I expect rain in November; but December rain, that’s the pits.

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Thank goodness for the See Rock City feeder!

Despite the rain, I had some hungry visitors including a Blue Jay. For whatever reason, my Blue Jay sightings are few even though I have plenty of sunflowers seeds in the mix and provide suet cakes. I’ll try whole peanuts in the shell, but I’m guessing the squirrel army will probably make off with those first.

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In other squirrel related, but decidedly disorganized posting, my gal Barbara at Squirrel Den Studio made a fabulous Squirrel Patrol t-shirt! It is student approved. As in “Hey, that’s a squirrel. Cool.” They are wordsmiths every one. You can find the Den on Facebook or shop at Etsy.  Barbara donates part of her shirt money to shelters every month, so that’s how you know she’s good people.

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Maury approves. My selfie skills, as always, are highly suspect.

DIY, Garden, Why?

The squirrel is in charge of planting sunflowers. He does a helluva job!

Last summer, I could barely get through parts of the garden because of the mass of sunflowers.

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It was beautiful and mildly frustrating, but I was able to donate a bunch of the cut flowers to a cat shelter fundraiser so that was nice.

This year, squirrel has been a little more selective in his planting so far. I can actually walk through all parts of my yard and garden. HOWEVER…

He continues to selectively plant the largest sunflowers closest to my patio where they can obstruct my view and potentially dislodge the patio bricks.

For example….

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When this tree sunflower was about four feet tall, it was bent over by weather/squirrels so  I anchored it to what I considered to be a relatively heavy ceramic pot with a convenient handle for tying rope to. It helped to straighten it. Briefly. (FYI: Sunflowers refuse to be propped up. They are difficult.)

The sunflower is now a good foot or two taller than me and is dragging the ceramic pot off of its ridiculous clay feet. I don’t know where the sunflower thinks it’s going, but I can’t stop it. I’m not the boss of it!

The flower pot was my last reasonable and sane anchor.

As Sherlock Holmes says, when you’ve done the one thing that seems super sane to you, but probably kind of weird and unnecessary to someone else and it doesn’t work, it is now time to do something completely irrational and inconvenient that everyone will regret later.

Tah-dah!!!

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This will end well. I will not clothesline myself at all.

I can’t wait to look out and see a squirrel on the rope!

 

You Can’t Re-Gift Crazy

Anyone can get and receive socks.

I know.

I personally gifted 10 pairs and received about a dozen pairs. As a person of a certain age, I was happy to get every single pair. Socks! Especially thick hiking boot socks!

It takes a real trooper to think outside the sock box and in to the “now this is what now?”

1. A potting bench! My mom comes up with projects and directs her engineer boyfriend to make them happen. He built her a potting bench based on some photos and drawings, and I wanted one too.

So she concocted  a story about coming to town looking for guns- yes, guns– and stopping by the house. What time would I be home from work? Suspicious. Like hardcore, tool-toting elves, they rushed to my house and assembled all the parts on my back patio. I pulled in to the garage as the boyfriend was torching the edges of the boards.

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It’s beautiful, barn boards and an old door! Plus it replaces the failed compost bin. Hopefully I won’t be attacked by bees because of the bench.

2. Bath Bomb! Ok, this is fucked up. I enjoy taking baths, especially in the winter when I can’t get warm enough. I’ll add a little bubble or body wash to the water, nothing elaborate. I basically just want to get warm, read, and/or play Words With Friends.

With this knowledge, my sister got me a collection of homemade bath salts, bubbles, and THE BOMB. I have heard the words “bath bomb” before, but have never experienced it.

Quite frankly, I’m over it. Done. When the thing in your tub looks like your favorite Nazi face melting scene, the relaxation part is over!

So it began:

I held back the screaming until the green part started.

Then I texted my sister the videos.

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She did not have bomb handling experience either.

But, yea, I sat in it.

I don't want to talk about it.

I don’t want to talk about it.

3. The Great White Squirrel! My soul searching squirrel army will be complete when I find the white one. I know it’s out there. I encountered one once, but passed it by for some reason. So for schitzengiggles, I put the white one on my list.

My mom was also unsuccessful at acquiring the The Great White Squirrel so she went with the next best thing, a painting and funding for the mission.

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Soon you will join your brothers!

Squirrel with cash!

Squirrel with cash!

4. Owen Armadillknit! My dear friend has the patience and skill to knit. She also has the necessary sense of whimsy to try out some weird shit. At Thanksgiving she graced the table with a blind knit turkey. She has now advanced her skills to making eyes.

We are both English teachers and big readers with a great love of John Irving books especially A Prayer for Owen Meany. I recently texted her about the name of the armadillo in A Prayer for Owen Meany.  I was second guessing whether or not I had properly named Ross the Holiday Armadillo, because my students had been  going on about a wretched movie Simon Birch which is LOOSELY based on a A Prayer for Owen Meany, and I was like, “Hey, why don’t you read this awesome book instead!” The point was that it was way too late to be texting a fellow teacher, my texts sounded drunk, and I couldn’t remember the armadillo’s name. She couldn’t remember it either. We’re pretty sure that the armadillo never had a name, and we’re pretty much experts.

Meanwhile, this was probably in the works.

Ross the Holiday Armadillo and Owen Armadillknit

Ross the Holiday Armadillo and Owen Armadillknit

I wouldn’t re-gift any of these items…except maybe THE BOMB….., but To be honest you can re-gift crazy. Happens all the time. Kind of the my trash could be your treasure concept.

With that in mind, maybe think about how that household item you’ve never used or gift card you have no idea what to do with could be re-purposed. Maybe a shelter could use it in a raffle fundraiser, treat volunteers, or buy supplies.  Shelters often have things on their Wish Lists besides food and cleaning products. For example, one of my favorite shelters wants an air purifier. Makes sense in a room with 100 cats.

This guy wants treats, an air purifier, a new bed, hand sanitizer, paper towels, clumping litter, and a fur-ever home. HOOK HIM UP ALREADY!

 

Cat Cloning on Clearance

Miles grew another cat. I always knew this day would come. Somehow the cat flavored dust bunnies would unite and…BOOM! New cat!

He's not thrilled.

He’s not thrilled.

His new buddy seems less fully formed and more spider-like than cat-like, but that’s what you get when you buy your cloning technology at 75% off on the after Halloween rack at PetSmart.

However as long as we’re going to create a cat homunculus, we might as well give it some super powers. Like lasers!

Laser cats!!!

Laser Cat Twins Unite!

Laser Cat Twins Unite!

Why not? We like Andy Samberg and Bill Hader a lot, but the internets have made it virtually impossible to find a shareable video of the SNL Laser Cats skit. So we’ll back track to laser cats on a budget and the most wonderful cat loving engineers ever.

However I did not torment Miles with costumes today because November 8 is his Adoption Day. His day looked a lot more like this:

Sun-spotting and thinking sexy thoughts.

Sun-spotting and thinking sexy thoughts. No lasers required.