Happy Beginning

(View of the pond at sunrise yesterday.)

M and I were up bright and early yesterday, ready to try to capture Barney once again.  This was pretty much our last chance to catch her and get her to the woman who kindly volunteered to take her in, take care of her, and perhaps tame her so she would be more adoptable.  We couldn’t expect Kind Cat-Rescue Lady to wait week after week for us to bring the cat to her when she could be using the space for another cat.

Having blown it last week trying to use a cat carrier and string, we decided to go with the Havahart trap.   We put the trap out after our failure with the carrier and Barney slowly got used to it as each day we moved the food further and further into the trap.  Barney showed up for breakfast yesterday morning, stepped into the trap, started eating, and nothing happened.  She seemed to be too light to trip  the trap.  Luckily, after some shifting around while she was eating, she finally tripped it.  Mission accomplished.

I felt awful, watching her panic in the trap.  But it was, as they say, for her own good.  I’ve been reading about stray and feral cats.  The average life span for a stray cat is 3 to 5 years.  They die from starvation, disease, attacks from other animals, or by being hit by cars.  It’s not a good way to live and it would have been inhumane to leave her out there to fend for herself.  In the U.S., approximately 5 million cats are abandoned each year.  Shame on you people who do that!

We took Barney, in the trap, to the car and off we went to her new (and temporary) home.  Kind Cat-Rescue Lady was indeed kind.  She has a great set-up for rescuing cats in her home with room for 12 cats at the most.  KCRL works for a vet and appears to be very knowledgable about stray and feral cats.  She also handled Barney well and with a great deal of kindness.  We moved Barney from the trap to a very large kennel-type cage where she had a blanket to lie on, a litter box, and some privacy once KCRL put up some curtains to give Barney a chance to calm down and get used to her new surroundings.  Since Barney hadn’t eaten much, KCRL fed her some canned food.

Everything was clean and nice.  The cats all appeared healthy and happy.  I think Barney will thrive and do well there.  She will be seen by a vet this week to be checked out, vaccinated, and spayed.  KCRL said she normally waits a few weeks before having the cats spayed or neutered so they will have some time to adjust but it’s kitten season and we had a tom cat hanging around the property lately.  It’s best to get Barney taken care of soon.

The KCRL said she’d keep in touch and let me know what happens with Barney.  Hopefully she’ll find a nice home where she’ll be spoiled rotten (like the two cats currently hanging around my computer).

(Daffodil Hill.  Lake View Cemetery.  April 4, 2010.)

After taking care of Barney we went up to Cleveland to check out the Lake View Cemetery.  The weather was gorgeous.  Our main purpose on this trip was to see Daffodil Hill.  They have a collection of over 100,000 bulbs on the hill, a project that has been ongoing since the 1940’s.

The daffodils are pretty, and there is quite a variety, but I don’t think they are quite all there just yet.  Perhaps in a week or so there will be more.

This was not our first trip to Lake View Cemetery, but it was our first during the day and to tour around the cemetery (on our own this time around).  We were there in 2003 to see a play (The Spoon River Anthology) performed by the Charenton Theater Company.  It was, to say the least, an interesting venue for a play.  Most appropriate as well, given that the characters are the dead citizens of the fictional small town of Spoon River.

I will post more about Lake View Cemetery and our visit soon.  Right now I need to get back to work.

Warm up

(Last night’s sunset.)

Summer decided to horn in on Spring’s act this week.  We have had a considerable warm-up.  It was in the 80’s here yesterday and it’s expected to be about the same today but with a few more clouds and a little less sunshine.  Within a day it seemed as though all of the daffodils, which were barely budding at the beginning of the week, were blooming.

(Around the standing stone.)

I didn’t blog this week partially due to a lack of material to blog about.  It’s been the usual sort of week:  exercising, eating healthy (for the most part), working around the house and yard, etc.

(Moonset this morning.)

I did do one new thing this week.  I had my hair professionally colored three different shades of color (chestnut, red, and blonde).  I like it.  A lot.  It’s too expensive to keep up, though, so I’ll be back to my usual variety of grays, silvers, whites, browns, reds, and blondes in about a month.

(Sunrise this morning.)

We also went to Akron on Thursday for beers and dinner with a friend.  That was fun.  🙂

(Inside 69 Taps.)

(Having a smoke at sunset in Akron.)

We haven’t been inside Jimmy’s yet.  Someday soon, maybe.

The other reason I didn’t post to the blog was because I wanted to keep the Adopt-a-Pet.com post up for a while, gaining maximum exposure (or as maximum as exposure can be at a blog that doesn’t get that much traffic).

Barney is still here with us.  I have found someone to take her but we’ve had trouble capturing Barney.  A woman who lives about 40 minutes drive from us does cat rescues and she contacted me after I put the ad on craigslist.com.  She works for a vet who helps her out and she sounds like she knows what she’s doing when it comes to taking care of  (and taming) abandoned cats.

(Sleeping on the balcony.)

We had hoped to have this resolved last weekend but really blew our attempt at capturing the cat and that led to Barney’s hesitation to come near the food bowl for a day or two.  She finally got hungry enough to come up and start eating again.  We’re going to try again tomorrow.  Keep your fingers crossed.  The sooner we get Barney to her new (temporary) home, the better.

M is outside today planting morels.  I’m not sure “planting” is the correct word.  Spreading spores or spawn or whatever they’re called.  There are probably morels growing on their own around here somewhere but we’ve yet to find them.

Tomorrow might be a full day.  Capture Barney, take Barney to her new home, and then up to Cleveland for another touristy type day.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate.  We’re hoping for an outdoors kind of day.

That’s about it from the Bogs for now.


Guest Post: Adopt-a-Pet.com

(Looking for a home.)

As you all know, we’ve been trying to find a home/rescue for Barney, the stray cat who showed up during a snow storm in January.  I may have a good outcome to report soon.  I’m sorry I can’t post more than that right now.  I want to make sure all is well before reporting all is well.

One of the results of my postings about Barney was an email from Jeff, the author of a blog at Adopt-a-Pet.com, who asked if I would link to Adopt-a-Pet.com and/or host a guest post from them.  I am more than happy to do both and so, without further ado, here is the guest post from Adopt-a-Pet.com.  Please visit their website, especially if you’re looking to adopt a pet.

What is Adopt-a-Pet.com

Adopt-a-Pet.com is the world’s largest non-profit pet adoption website. We are like an ad agency for shelters and shelter pets. Sadly there are 4 million healthy adoptable companion animals killed in shelters each year due to overcrowding. We do our best to relieve that problem and put pets from shelters in the homes of pet seekers all over the country.

Our website makes it easy for anyone with an internet connection to find profiles and pictures of adoptable animals by location, breed, gender, age, size, and color. Over 8,000 shelters posts pets on our website displaying over 125,000 pets available for adoption at any given time. We also help volunteers connect with shelters, and currently host over thousands of people listed in our volunteer database for shelters.

What Makes Adopt-a-Pet.com Unique:

– On our website, people can use something we call “Search Saver.” This feature will notify users by e-mail when a particular pet of their specifications in available for adoption. For example, I can tell “Search Saver” where I live, and what type of breed I am looking for. When that animal is available, I am notified the next time a pet matching my search is added on Adopt-a-Pet.com.

– As of this summer we have now made it easy for our visitors to find pets and then recommend them to friends and family via Facebook, Twitter and other social applications. We are calling the idea “Social Petworking.” Here is how it works; once you have searched and found a pet in need, on the pet details page simply hover over the button labeled “SHARE,” there you can send the pet details page to any of your friends. For more information visit this page http://www.adoptapet.com/socialpetworking/signup.

– In addition to dogs and cats, we now feature all kinds of pets for adoption, including rabbits, farm animals, ferrets, hamsters and other small animals, horses, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and even fish. This was a major initiative that took many months to research and program into the site, and it is being well-received within the shelter community.

– By teaming up with the renowned street-artist Shepard Fairey, who designed the iconic Obama “Hope” image, we have available a number of stylish ways to promote pet adoption. Shepard was able to translate his work with Obama to an image that can be used to represent pet adoption support. Merchandise can be found at www.muttslikeme.com.

– We have begun blogging and created a Twitter Page along with a Facebook Page. Our blog is located at http://blog.adoptapet.com/, there you can join our Facebook Group, or follow us on Twitter.

Blog Highlights:

Adopt-a-Pet.com has recently begun blogging, and every week we publish posts from two separate columns. On Tuesday we blog about pet care tips, and on Fridays we do our best to find heartwarming stories about adopted pets all over the country.

Here are a few highlights from our blog:

10 Ways To Help Homeless Pet, Even If You Can’t Adopt
What To Ask Your Veterinarian
Good News In Pet Adoption – A Weekly Post
10 Things To Consider Before Adopting

The Barney Dilemma

Thank you to everyone who made suggestions regarding Barney.  I wish I could say we’ve come to some sort of decision or resolution, but we’re still pondering all of the options.

We have contacted the animal rescue groups/people in our area.  None are taking cats at this time.  That leaves the local dog pound, if all else fails, where Barney will likely be euthanized.  The thought of that saddens me.  It’s a last-resort option and I hope we don’t have to go down that road.

I posted on craigslist.com.  We have also checked with our nearby neighbors and none have claimed the cat so far.  At this point I’m fairly certain Barney was dumped/abandoned.

We have not been able to get any closer to Barney.  She is just as skittish as the day she showed up.  I had hoped that feeding and talking to her would settle her down a little but she still trembles when there is a person around.  I had also hoped that Barney would start doing better outdoors with regular feeding.  That doesn’t seem to be the case which rules out the possibility of leaving her outside as a barn cat.  It seems inhumane to me to leave the poor thing out where she will continue to be attacked by the other animals (included with the usual wildlife are a couple of feral cats that have been here for years).  I’m surprised a hawk hasn’t taken her yet, given how small she is and how we lost one cat to a hawk a few years ago.

It’s also possible that Barney’s hair loss is attributable to some type of mange.  Since she doesn’t appear to be very healthy and we’ve been finding large clumps of fur on the porch where she sunbathes in the afternoons.  She scratches a great deal and what we thought might be injuries could be a result of the scratching.

At any rate, we cannot bring her indoors.  I don’t want to expose our other cats to Barney and whatever Barney may be carrying.  I also don’t want another indoor cat at this time.  I don’t believe Izzy and Bella would be very accepting of her (judging by the way they hiss and claw at the window when Barney comes up to visit with them).  I know that eventually they might grudgingly come to accept her, but I suspect there would be more than a few cat fights before that happened.

Up until we adopted Izzy and Bella, all of our cats were strays that adopted us.  This is the first time we’ve had to deal with a stray that is afraid of people and neither of us know how to handle it.  We’ve both done some reading about how to tame a wild cat.  That involves capturing and caging the cat, then isolating it indoors.  To do that, we’d have to take Barney to a vet, something we will have to do if we should decide to try to keep her as a barn cat because she needs to be spayed (or neutered, if she turns out to be a he) and given the appropriate vaccinations as well as be treated for whatever ails her.

I have a few more possibilities, a few more phone calls to make, and then I guess we’ll have to come to some conclusion about what to do.  If you live in northeast Ohio and are interested in capturing, taming, and adopting Barney, please contact me here at the blog.

This is also a good time to let you all know about a new link on my blog.  You may have noticed it over there to the right.  Check out Adopt-a-Pet.com, a non-profit pet adoption charity.  If you have a pet that is not spayed or neutered, check out their article Why Spay or Neuter Your Dog/Cat.  It’s a good way to cut down on the homeless pet population and avoid situations such as the one Barney is currently in.

Of Barn Cats and House Cats

Barney showed up during one of the coldest days of a cold spell this winter.  M had been out in the barn and noticed signs that a cat had been sleeping out there.  At some point he also saw the cat as it went running away from him.  He couldn’t get a close-up look and we still haven’t determined if Barney is a boy or a girl.

I suggested feeding Barney but M said no, he didn’t want to encourage it to hang around.  But hang around it did so on the second day, even colder and snowier than the first, M fed him/her.  He also set something up in the barn so Barney would have some warmth.  It was bitterly cold at the time and it seemed like the right thing to do.

I don’t know where Barney came from or how s/he came to be here.  At first Barney looked well-groomed enough that I thought perhaps someone had dumped the poor kitty out here in the country.  It was also possible that Barney belonged with someone nearby but got lost during the snow storm that brought Barney to us.

(The cat in the window.)

M and I have both tried to get close to Barney in hopes of taking her/him to the vet and/or to our local Animal Protective League, but the cat is very skittish and very fast, running away as fast as s/he can to get away from us.  That changed yesterday when I noticed Izzy and Bella spending time with Barney at the windows.

(Hey!  Watch that flash, would ya?)

I slowly approached Bella while she was checking out Barney.  As long as I was there with Bella, Barney was ok with me.   After a few times at this, Barney has allowed me to approach the windows without bolting for the hills (or the space under the porch).  M has moved Barney’s food and water to the top of the spiral stairs so we can watch him/her and s/he can watch us.  Barney has taken to sleeping on the deck at the bottom of the stairs today which seems pretty brave to me.  It’s also a warm spot, with the sun shining on it this afternoon.

Barney is small with beautiful blue eyes.  Up close (and through the window) the poor thing looks pretty scraggly with a bad scrape on its nose.  Cleaned up, s/he’d be a handsome little kitty.  I’m really not sure if Barney is a feral cat or a stray/abandoned cat.  From what I’ve been reading on the internet, feral cats generally take care of themselves pretty well whereas abandoned cats do not.  From the looks and behavior of Barney, s/he is having a hard time of it out there so perhaps s/he is abandoned.

Hopefully we will be able to somehow capture Barney in the next few days and see what our options are from there.  I don’t think Izzy or Bella would welcome another cat into the house so I’m not seriously considering that option right now (no matter how cute Barney looks all curled up on the deck right now).

In other news…

Well, there really isn’t any.  We’re settling back into the usual daily routine after our lovely vacation.  The mountains of laundry are shrinking and I’ll soon be able to call them hills.  Izzy and Bella are thrilled to have us back at home where they can harass us in the middle of the night.

And I’ve already lost two of the vacation pounds I picked up in Florida.  🙂

The Bogs are muddy and boggy with all the snow melt.  The vernal creeks are streaming towards the pond and the vernal pools in the woods are growing.  (To learn more about vernal pools, visit the Ohio Vernal Pool Partnership.)  M said he’s seen signs of daffodils pushing up out of the ground.  I haven’t braved the mud enough just yet to have a look for myself, but will head out there soon for a stroll around the property.  I have to locate my boots first.

I’m not looking forward to the time change this weekend (I always feel like I’ve lost an hour of sleep when we spring forward), but I am liking the longer, warmer days.

(This morning’s view of the pond.)