Cat Herding

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thank You, Casa de los Gatos

Last Friday, on what would have been my brother's 70th birthday, I rented a minivan and transported 10 of his indoor cats to Tucson's Casa de los Gatos. One was already chosen for adoption, and the others were part of the group accepted by the Casa for placement in their rescue program. Yesterday, eight more were transported to make a total of 18 cats that they accepted for placement.

I will add to this post, but I wanted to publish it as an update to the story of Sarge's cats so that folks would know that many of them have been given a new chance to find permanent homes.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Simon's Cat - "Let Me In !"

I love this artist's renditions of Simon, and love to post it wherever I can.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Weather cat?

Watch at the bottom of the tv screen -- going from left to right...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Feral Cats FAQ - from the ASPCA

I love cats - big cats like the cougar of the southwestern U. S., the tiger of India, the African lion; I love the wild smaller varieties -- the cerval, ocelot, margay; I am most appreciative of the smaller varieties that share the beauty of the big cats, but not their appetite. Most of my cats have been strays that may have been lost from someone's home, evicted and abandoned, or possibly born outside. The outdoor cats that I'm presently feeding were born outside and are not tame, but they are used to me (as they were used to my brother when he started feeding them), and allow me to enjoy their beauty and personality close up -- just not TOO close.

"...The number of feral cats in the U.S. is estimated to be in the tens of millions. Sadly, many communities still opt to control populations via outdated methods, including lethal elimination or relocation. Not only are some of these methods horribly cruel, they are also highly ineffective. It’s time to focus on feral cats in the fight to end animal cruelty...." -- from the ASPCA

Feral Cats FAQ from the ASPCA

Uh, oh!

This looks like my brother's group...

The caption says "All we need iz a crazy laydee".

(I haven't figured out yet how to fix the width of the columns to allow full viewing.)

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What's your favorite litter?

I've been doing a lot of litter box duty for the last few months, and I have come up with a recipe for a mixture of cat litters that I like. The rule for number of litter boxes is "one for each cat PLUS one", so for my brother's 40 cats, we would have needed 41 boxes. That wouldn't have left much room in his home for walking around, so he only had about 6 boxes - one being a large bin. When you have a lot of cats using only a few boxes, clay litter can get H*A*R*D pretty fast. I added a couple of boxes, but decided that I needed to try other litters. I like World's Best litter (corn based), but it is expensive, and at first I thought that it would cost too much to use for such a large group. Since I've found that it can be used longer than clay, I decided to give it a try, and found that the expense was not as high since I didn't need to refill it as often. Then I decided to add some Nature's Miracle litter to see if it would further reduce the odor after many uses. I really liked the fluffiness that the Nature's Miracle added, and believe it is a really good combination -- the corn granules form nice tight balls around the urine, while the fluffiness of the Nature's Miracle helps make the scooping easier (no cement blocks to try to dig thru) as well as keeping any messes from sticking to the sides of the box.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Do You have a Boomerang Cat?

"...You put kitty down, she returns right back to the point of origin – YOU! So, you gently put kitty down again, she’s right back on you. Cat put down, cat immediately back. Cat down; cat back. And so it continues . . . boomerang-style..."

Article after the jump -- Boomerang Cats

iVillage - Petside - by Sandra Toney

I have had a number of "boomerang" cats in my lifetime, and have one, Pepper, who is very persistent about getting attention except when she wants food even more. If she's hungry, I can get her to get down off the computer or my lap and go to her dish for something yummy. Of course, as soon as she's done eating, she may very well boomerang right back to me....

Trapping Cats for TNR: How to Trap an Entire Colony


I've only had a small group of outdoor cats to trap (plus some indoor shy cats). Watching this video helped, as well as reading tips on the Alley Cat Allies website, and my local groups - A.L.F, and Altered Tails/AZ Cats. I trapped "my limit" the first time, and missed one the last time I tried because the two outdoor kittens that I had just released after their spaying/neutering kept walking into the traps to get the food. They either set off the trapdoor, scaring the other kittens away, or I scared them away by shooshing the altered kittens away from the door. I then tried luring the kittens into the trap with a laser light pen, but that didn't quite work either. But I did get the mama cat, so she won't have to deal with those rover boys this spring. I still have 3 kittens to catch/spay, and I hope to get them before their first mating.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Video - Maru the Cat (he likes to put himself into things)

Okay, so not all posts are exactly informational...

Zoey -- an ongoing happy story

Resources available - discounted prices for spay/neuter, Leukemia/FIV testing, vaccinations

When my brother, Dick, and I started trying to get his cats spayed/neutered, I checked the internet for discounted prices and found AZ Cats and Scottsdale Strays, but we really needed even more of a discount due to the large number of cats he needed to alter, and I found the Maricopa County Animal Care and Control website offered a FREE voucher program called the "Big Fix" for "low-income residents" to get their pets spayed/neutered (see link under "Cat Info Links"). The website mentioned AHCSS eligibility, but the form asked for information about why the applicant was requesting assistance. Since Dick was living on an Army pension plus a small VA disability payment and Social Security and working only part-time at Petsmart for retail wages, I ventured to apply for him and was happily surprised when the vouchers came in the mail for him. The vouchers covered the total cost of a spay or neuter for each of the cats we applied for; it did not cover the cost of pain meds for the females which we covered.

We chose the Mesa Spay/Neuter Clinic at Southern and Gilbert because we had used it previously (as a discount payment clinic) and had been very satisfied with the results. It is hard sometimes to get through on the phone to make an appointment, and appointments are often scheduled weeks ahead when you do get through, but the staff and doctors are friendly and competent, and their prices are great (even without a free MCACC "Big Fix" voucher). This worked very well for a few months as he crated the appointed cats in the early morning (after restricting them in a separate room to keep them from eating before surgery - this was hard for Dick to do since he felt sorry for them if they cried to get out of the room, but he knew it was necessary). Of course, this meant that I had to get up early also since I was his transportation. He had a pickup truck and we didn't want to transport any of the cats in the back of the pickup, so that meant we needed to use my 4-door Honda and get to the clinic by a little after 7 a.m. -- NOT my favorite time to have to be somewhere. (Even when I work, I don't have to be there until 8 a.m. -- gripe, complain, whine...) We'd fill out the forms for each cat and wait to be called in to the clinic room where they would weigh and check each cat over - if a cat was suffering a respiratory problem, it would be sent home so as not to infect other cats or over-stress its system. They found that a couple of Dick's females were already pregnant again by the appointment time, and if I hadn't been there, Dick probably would have taken them home to wait for more kittens, but I was strict about them being freed from further motherhood.

I have now found another clinic - the M.A.S.H. mobile unit that schedules visits at the Apache Junction Animal Control parking lot as well as visits in Tempe, Glendale, and Pinal County (see link under "Cat Info Links"). You have to make appointments for spay/neuter services, but if you need vaccinations and/or testing for Leukemia/FIV, you can just show up between 9:30 - 11 am and they will provide those services. Prices are a bit higher if you don't have the animal spayed/neutered when you get them vaccinated, but it is still less expensive than using my regular vet -- whom I adore and respect, but cannot afford when I'm trying to get a dozen or more cats served. There are always a number of folks at the MASH unit when I go, and we all agree that it is a great service.

Photos of a few of Sarge's cats

Watching the laser pen's light

Markie - 3 yr. old male

Bandit - old lady cat

Smokey - 3 yr. old female

Two summer kittens - carport

Charley - 3 yr. old male - awaiting dinner

My brother's herd...

My brother died August 31st, 2008. What mattered most to him was being a father and being a soldier... and his cats...the cats he had to leave behind that now need new homes.

Dick was a career soldier in the U.S. Army and retired as a Staff Sgt. in the early '90's. He served in Korea, Germany, Honduras and other duty sites. He was born shortly before the U.S. entered WWII, and knew he always wanted to be a soldier. We grew up in Phoenix and when he retired, he returned to the valley to live. He had always loved cats, and there are many homeless cats living in most neighborhoods. When he lived in Scottsdale, he took in a mother cat nursing 5 kittens - the "kittens" are now about 10 years old. When he moved to Mesa, he took in a male kitten left under a box in a shopping cart in a grocery parking lot -- in the middle of summer! Then he noticed that one of the stray cats he was feeding outdoors was pregnant - in she came and gave him 6 beautiful kittens. Later that year, another outdoor female had a litter, and after gaining their trust, he brought her and her 4 babies indoors. Next he made a major mistake, in my opinion, anyway - he did not get the newest ones spayed/neutered. He was working only part-time and living on his Army retirement, but he still should have gotten them altered. I kept nagging him about it, and when we found that he could qualify for the Maricopa County Animal Care and Controls "Big Fix" Program to get free vouchers to the Spay/Neuter Clinic, we finally started working on getting the appointments and getting them fixed. Almost all were done before he became too ill to catch/crate them, but the total living with him inside was already 37 -- well, that was the number that we came up with when he and I made a list. After a few weeks of caring for the cats, I found a few "new ones" under the sink and in a cabinet - the new count brought it to about 40. Outdoors, there was a mama with two batches of kittens (spring litter of 3 and summer litter of 4) living in the carport, and two tomcats who fuss with each other while eating.