Saturday, October 30, 2010

Throwing in the towel

Alas, no Pigpen tonight.  I have to feel pretty good about the 5 we did catch, of course, but it's still disappointing.  She sat around all evening, never near the traps, but never far away either.  Then around 10:30 some teens were hanging out nearby and being kinda loud, and we haven't seen her since. 

Now it's midnight and The Volunteer is coming by to take away the 5 we were successful with.  Poor Tuxie is curled up in the smallest ball I've ever seen her make-- turns out she really is mostly fur!  Paint is actually the calmest.  Barnaby/Miley came right up to neighbor E. when E. wanted to see her to say goodbye 'til Monday.  And Tig(g)er is rubbing his back on the top of the cage asking for pets.  All in all, fairly calm kitties. 

I'll update more tomorrow, of course-- they'll be out of surgery and back here for after-care by afternoon.

Pigpen, staying true to her epithet

Caught a fifth cat-- Paint! This is good.  But we're still missing Miss Pigpen (aka Hannah.)  So five cats in crates are on my balcony, awaiting pickup, and four more sit, loaded and ready, outside. 

Three of the five cats were caught in the same place-- I just keep replacing that crate with an empty one.  Fingers crossed, maybe Pigpen will visit there next. 

Funnily enough, I've caught 6 cats tonight and 5 were ones I wanted.  The sixth was Raven, a domestic  (and already spayed) black cat wearing a collar who is sibling to Whiskey (aka Sam).  Obviously I let her go right away!

If I'm interpreting DNL's comments correctly, though, Miss Pigpen had a litter of kittens this past Spring (which were domesticated and taken to Petco, apparently), so she's definitely not speutered. 

Everyone, please send "Pigpen go in the trap," vibes.


Neighbor E. had a great plan involving letting Ti(g)ger eat at her house like he normally does and letting us catch him that way.  Tig(g)er had other plans, though, and when Beatrice's Mom came over to hang out, she pointed out "Hey, there's a cat in that trap."  And there was indeed-- a rather angry Tig(g)er who started throwing himself against the edge of his crate, poor kitty.  He settled down quickly once the cover was atop, and he's now awaiting pick-up with the other three.

That leaves Paint and Pigpen.  It figures that my nemesis would, once again, refuse to cooperate.  But it's only 8:30, so we shall see.

Another one caught!

Tuxie is VERY angry about it, but she's been caught.  She is now in a trap and yowling.

This leaves Tig(g)er  (and we have a plan for him), Pigpen (MY NEMESIS) and Paint, who I've seen around, sniffing at the traps, but has not deigned to yet go in.

We wait...

Amidst the Trapping

While hanging out with neighbor E., who is unfortunately not well enough to help trap tonight, we caught Barnaby/Miley! Huzzah!

And then another neighbor came to my door to tell me that there was a cat in one of my traps-- and we've caught the sooper mysterious grey tabby! Huzzah!

But Tuxie is just taunting us.


This part?  Sucks.  The cats are hungry-- I haven't fed them, E. hasn't fed them.  Even DNL doesn't seem to have fed them today.  This is good-- hungry cats go in traps.  But it's bad-- they're crying.  Tuxie is sitting on my door step yowling. 

So far today (in going between house and car) I've seen Tuxie, Tig(g)er, Barnaby(Miley) and Paint (!!) -- so that's 4 of the 6.  (I've also seen Mistoffolees and Daisy, and I feel awful for them since they don't need to be caught, but are hungry, poor things.)  Just a few more hours and there will be yummy tuna in oil (eww.) 


Friday, October 29, 2010

Good news! and GREAT NEWS! and mediocre news...

All the pictures in this post are from this morning. :) And you click them to make them bigger.  (Also, I've recently updated the Flickr Set with about 60 photos.)

Mediocre News:
Let's start with the mediocre news because that way we can end with the great news.  The mediocre news is that when I came home this evening I saw that DNL had fed the cats.  This despite the note I put on her door.  DNL, as you may recall, doesn't approve of TNR because it's against Jesus's wishes.  I... am not happy.  But I don't want to say nasty things behind her back (although I will admit that a good 50% of why I asked a friend to help me tomorrow night was so that I'd have backup in dealing with DNL.  Not because she's dangerous, but because she's batty.)  I'm assuming she didn't get my note, or she got it and didn't read it, or she got it and didn't understand it.  (She didn't seem to understand, quite, two years ago the first time around...) I just have to hope that the other people who have been feeding the cats did not today and won't tomorrow, in and that DNL's actions don't ruin the trapping.
Hullo, Barnaby.  Um, I mean, Miley.

Good News:
Speaking of other people who feed the cats, I got a knock on my door last night and found a man and a woman, the latter of which was clutching the note I'd put on (I assume) her door.  She was very nice (the man didn't speak much), and just wanted to meet me, and to be sure she understood what was going on, and even offered to help tomorrow evening.  She told me all about her cat (and I gave her a cat toy to take to him).  Just like whenever I find a note on my door, she got scared upon seeing the one I put on hers.  Even though I was really careful to state many times in said note that we are bringing the cats back, that this is TNR, etc., she wanted to make sure, and that's cool.  (That's why I put contact information on the note!)

It turns out that this is the woman who has been putting collars on Tig(g)er.  (She calls him Tiger, I've been calling him Tigger, and a little girl in the complex calls him Garfield.)  She knew the previous owner.  She'd even tried to take Tig(g)er inside to live with her and her cat (and husband and possibly other family members), but Tig(g)er just refuses to stay only indoors.  He does, however, come inside every evening to eat dinner-- and now we know how he got handsome and filled out again!! She says that if she'd known Tig(g)er wasn't neutered she'd have taken him to get it done, so she's glad that I'm going to.

I love how sprawled Tuxie looks-- that back paw hanging out just makes the picture.
ALSO, she's apparently exceptionally fond of Barnaby and Pigpen-- although she calls them Miley and Hannah.  (Yes, you got the reference right.  Evidently it's her favorite show.)  So she is the one I have to thank for getting them so much less skittish-- she's been feeding them canned food every day!! She says that she's gotten Barnaby/Miley close enough to touch her nose  (and that Barnaby/Miley has put her head in the doorway and touched noses with her cat) but not close enough to really pet, yet.  She's been working on it for 6 months.  We both have high hopes of being able to catch them tomorrow evening.

It was great to be in touch with one of the other cat lovers in the neighborhood, and to have her support.  (She kept telling me how 'beautiful' it is what I'm doing and such.)  And like I said, she'll be out tomorrow night because she wants to see how it all works.

And now the Great News:
We did it! Actually, you did it.  Between donations and purchases in my Etsy shop we have raised (are you sitting down?) $504.50And that's not including the matching donations!!!

You guys make me cry with happiness.  Your generosity reminds me that there are good people out there.  (It's an easy thing to forget when you're dealing with abandoned cats, and hearing about ferals being poisoned and shot.)  You guys, from all over the world (well, okay, I think you're relatively confined to North America, but that's okay) know that these little feral cats just want to be allowed to live and do their thing, and you've made it possible.  I am so genuinely grateful and humbled by your generosity.  With this money not only have we enough to pay for the TNR via the Spay and Neuter Hotline (who, let me just say again, have been incredible and patient with me as I've tried to schedule all this), but also for me to feed the ferals for a year!  (And having TNRed the rest of the colony there shouldn't be any more kittens for me to care for, and therefore no more vet bills... knock on wood!)  I ... yeah... just... wow.

Thank you.  Thank you so very much.  No matter how much you contributed-- a few dollars, a link from your blog or your FB or Twitter-- I appreciate it more than I can properly express.

So now we just have to hope the cats go in the traps...

They're more excited about making the goal than they look.  Promise.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Matching Donations! Trapping! Mousies! Oh my!


This is an older picture of PigPen (she's cleaner now!) but one of my favorites!

First, if you follow Project-Cat (well, the blogger behind P-C) on any other social-media-venue, you might have noticed a bit of a tizzy as far as just when the trapping will occur.  Originally, it would be this weekend, and then I had taken too long to get the ferals signed up for a Sunday clinic, so it was going to be two weeks, then it turned out that there is room, so it's back on for this weekend.


Fortunately, I have a colleague and friend who is going to hang out and provide  (a)moral support, and The Volunteer is providing traps and transportation.  (I get to do after-care all on my own though, and won't that be a challenge? Heh.  Well, I'll worry about that part later.)

But this means we's got to raise monies.  Thanks to the incredible generosity of several friends, we have raised $65.  The Spay And Neuter Hotline requests a donation of $25/cat for TNR to offset costs.  (Note that's offset, not cover, so if I could raise more for them?  How wonderful!)  So that's a minimum of $150 needed, assuming I catch all 6 cats.  (Fingers crossed!)  (Note how much less this is than last time, when it was $50/cat, and aiming for 14+! So hey, we're making progress in all sorts of ways!)  So $150 is the bottom goal, but a little more for small purchases for trapping  (ie: tuna in oil, mostly) and more for the Hotline would be awesome-sauce.  Too, as a friend pointed out, there's the continuing feeding of the ferals (which I've been doing out of pocket) and, alas, you never know when another kitten or cat will be dumped and need care. 

To that end, you can help!

First off, an Anonymous Donor, who has asked that I not reveal his/her/their identity, nor use adjectives of description, has offered MATCHING DONATIONS up to $250!!! So if you hit that there donation button on the left (or below!), this wonderful, fantastic and kind donor (Okay, so I don't always follow directions) will match your donation, up to raising $250!! NOW IS THE TIME TO DONATE! Your money gets doubled! How awesome is that?!?! 

(There, I'll describe this donor's actions as AMAZING AND INCREDIBLE, instead of the donor him/herself/themselves.  That's sort of following directions, eh?)

So hit the button, if you can!!


Tuxie is telling me to stop taking pictures and to clean out and refill her water-bowl, thankyouverymuch.
If you can't?  I totally understand.  But you can still help by re-tweeting, re-face-booking and linking to Project-Cat.  Spread the word! (The plight of the feral cat should be spread anyway.)

ALSO. (I don't know what it is with me and all-caps today.  My sincere apologies-- I'm not shouting, I'm just excited!)  There are new cat toys in my Etsy shop.  Visit them here! (There's yarn there, too, handspun, by me! And not from cat fur, I promise.  Cat fur is too short to spin well.  No, I haven't tried it.  What? I haven't! I swear! I just know people who have.)  All money from purchases in my shop will go towards this fund!   (This is not included in the matching donations, of course, 'cause that's for donations.  And with this you get an object, after all.)

I also take commissions-- you have a cat who choose his/her toys?  I can make double-strength mousies!  Allergic to wool?  I can make the toys out of cotton or acyclic.   Want a different creature?  I've made bunnies, ants, spiders, lady-bugs and sheep, and I'd be happy to try anything!

Guh.  I'm all hot and sticky because it is 93degrees out there, and I just went up and down stairs and door to door, putting notes on all my neighbors' doors, asking them not to feed the cats in time for the trapping.  The whole not-feeding part makes me sad, even though it's for a good cause.  Poor hungry fuzzies.  But they'll get tuna-in-oil in traps on Saturday, and they'll be back to being fed regularly right after that. 

Barnaby asks you to spread the word.  Every little bit helps!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


You know how there are cats I didn't catch last time?  And a few cats who have shown up randomly since?  Well, now it's time to turn my (and your!) attention to them.

In two weeks, we'll be trapping my ferals-- hopefully catching the 6 colony cats who still need to be speutered.  (Speuter = spay/neuter.)

Who are we aiming for?

Well, of course there's Pigpen.  Pigpen is my Arch-Nemesis because I tried to catch her last time and failed.  But she's gotten more friendly since then (if by friendly I mean comes up to the second floor to eat and only runs when I get within 6 feet of her instead of 10.)  So there's hope!

(Click the pictures to make them bigger if you like.)

 She's a cutie, and since she's a calico I can be reasonably sure she's a she.  Gotta catch her so that she can be saved from more litters of kittens.

Then there's Tuxie.  I've spoken at length about Tuxie before.  She's beautiful and she's brave (she comes running when she hears my door open as she knows it means food.  How she knows it's my door, I do not know.)  She routinely comes within a foot or so of me, sometimes following me all the way to the door.  I think she must have been dumped as a kitten, to be so calm around humans.  But what human wouldn't have wanted to keep this beauty?

Tuxie normally shows up whenever I'm outside, but today she did not until dusk (when it was too late for a picture) so this is an older picture.  The cat behind her is Whiskey (aka Sam), and is not feral but sometimes comes over to my apartment to munch on some stolen cat food and hang out with the ferals.

Also to be caught is Barnaby.  Barnaby, like Pigpen, has been around for a while, but I was unable to catch him/her last time.  However, Barnaby's been hanging out a lot more often, as evidenced not only by these two photos, but by the fact that I have lots of photos of him/her.  (Despite the masculine name, I'm actually guessing Barnaby to be female, given the petite size and plethora of colors.  This is only a guess.  And while kitten fur color can often have absolutely no relation to the color of the mother's fur, note how much Barnaby looks like the last full litter of kittens I had-- Dean, Zadie, Iso and Violetta.  Could this cat have been their mom?  Who knows!)

What? What do you want from me???

Fine, I'll pose.  Happy?!

So you're familiar with those three.  Then there's Paint.  Paint has never been seen on this here blog because s/he's so elusive.  The elusive, elusive Paint.  I don't see him/her often, and when I do I rarely have my camera with me.  (In fact, one of these photos is from my phone.)

I named Paint "Paint" because of the tip of this one's tail-- it looks like it was dunked in a pot of paint. :)

If I had to place odds, I'd say this kitty is the on I'm least likely to catch this weekend, purely because s/he's rarely around.  But fingers crossed!
Number five is actually the cat I have the highest hopes for catching (with Tuxie coming in at number two.)  I've mentioned this fuzzy before, but I don't know that I've ever told you all what I know about him.  This is Tigger:

Isn't he handsome?  (And he is definitely a he.)  He's incredibly friendly.  He has tried to follow me home (until he realizes that there are already cats in my home.)  Obviously he is not a feral.

Sometimes he wears a collar.  Sometimes he does not.  Sometimes he is really skinny.  Sometimes he is not.  Sometimes he is really dirty.  Sometimes he is really soft and clean.  He is a mystery.

But just last week I ran into a little girl playing with him, and said little girl knew some of Tigger's history.  Evidently there is someone here in the complex who calls him Tiger, and who puts a collar on him sometimes in the hopes that animal control won't take him away.  However, she doesn't actually consider herself Tigger's owner.  Apparently someone did once consider him/herself Tigger's owner, but then left him here when said "owner" moved away.

I would now rant and rant and rant about people and their choices when it comes to animals, but if you're reading this here blog you probably already understand and agree.  And there's no point in preaching to the choir.  So Tigger will get TNRed this weekend, and I will continue to feed him and show him love whenever I can.  I wish I could find him a home-- he's a lap cat, frankly-- but with so many homeless cats here already in Phoenix-land, and so many kittens easier to home... I don't have high hopes.  (That said, if you were looking to open your home to a sweet natured purring fuzzball who is already full grown and therefore unlikely to do all the kitten antics that destroy things in one's home, let's talk!)

So that's five, and I'd said six before, right?  Welllll, yeah.  There's no picture of number six, alas.  I tried to get one today, but number six is speedy and aloof.  S/he's a pale gray tiger cat-- a lot like Tigger but smaller and more dilute (which is to say pastel.) S/he showed up for the first time a few weeks ago (or at least that's when I first spotted her.)  I don't know what her story is but if I can catch her, TNRed she will be.

EDIT TO ADD: Turns out I *do* have ONE picture of the elusive dilute tabby...

The Volunteer is loaning me the necessary traps and providing transportation for any of the kitties that I catch.  A friend has agreed to help me on Saturday night (for moral support and company more than anything else.)  I will photograph and blog it all.

Buuuut, there's one more thing.  There's always one more thing, eh?  Yeah, it costs money for places like the Spay and Neuter Hotline and the Animal Defense League of Arizona to spay and neuter-- for the vets to work, to lend out traps, etc.  And Project-Cat's (ie: me, grad student earning a pittance) has no fundage at present (because much was spent on Meester Max, and of course on-going costs.)  So now would be the perfect time to donate even a few dollars to Project-Cat.  Thankfully the ferals don't need nearly as much as last time (when we caught 13!), but I do need to cover the cost of their TNRing (and the cost of tuna-in-oil to lure them in! Ewwwww!)  Please, if you can, drop a few bucks on the donate button?

(If you're into making things with yarn, you can check out my Etsy page, too, which has a few handspun skeins for sale.  I'm hoping to get a few cat toys for sale up yet tonight/tomorrow, too.  All proceeds from my Etsy site go to taking care of the ferals.)

Lastly, Daisy, who we TNRed two years ago, says Thanks for your help! (She was hanging out tonight so I snapped her picture.)

Can I go back to eating now?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Max's Forever Home

Note the shaved bit on his front leg-- from the anesthesia during neutering. Note also the giant paws-he's grown, but has more growing to do!!

Things moved right along for baby Max these past two weeks.  He got his big-boy shots  (which is to say his rabies vaccine), then a few days later he got neutered.  He recovered from the anesthesia faster than any cat I've ever before met, so that was good!  In the roughly 6 weeks he lived with me, he gained 3pounds, which is good, given that he started out malnourished!  His fur became sleek and soft (instead of patchy and coarse), and his whiskers grew back in.  He even started to grow into his long face!  Then a week later (yesterday) he and I flew to the Windy City to deliver him to his forever home, where Dean (from the last litter) will be his big brother! 

Also, Max changed colors.  I'm not kidding.  When I took him to the vet the second time, the vet was highly amused.  Instead of being a typical tuxie cat, Max is now a ... well, I'm not sure how you'd describe him.  His paws are still white, his legs and tail are still black (except in photographs, when his tail appears striped), but his back and the back of his head have turned sort of silvery! He's a seal-point tuxie with mittens? And a stealth striped tail?

His fur grew in silver!
Note the stealth stripes!
 Along the way, Max stole my heart with his loud purr and his sweet cuddling.  He's the kind of cat that, if you put him in your lap, or on your chest, he'll snuggle right in, head down and everything, and rumble away with a purr that seems twice his size.  He even didn't mind (and seemed to like) when I'd nap with him, tucking him under the covers with me! But alas, he could not stay here, of course.  My cats were (mostly) displeased by his very existence, and also, I live in a small flat.  So off we went.

And it turns out that he's doing wonderfully.  He's skittish when his new human moves around (just like here) but otherwise is already behaving so much braver at his new house.  He's been playing and exploring! I'm very proud of him!

I'll finish off this post with just a few more pictures.  But check back here at Project-Cat for some big news this week!!

I think he's plotting something in this pic.

A study in ignoring.  The cat on the left is Jack.

Max likes forts made of pillows and blankies.
Thanks for reading about Max's adventures!