Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Halloween or All Hallows Eve is here once again and the holiday brings with it the usual throngs of costumed trick-or-treaters, candy, parties and decorations.
It is also a time when pet parents need to be vigilant in order to keep their pets happy and safe. Let's take a look at the holiday and some simple dos and don'ts that will go a long way to make Halloween a fun time for all concerned:
Candy is dandy for the little monsters, hobgoblins, ghosts and assorted superheroes or historical figures coming to your front door but such treats are a potential hazard for your pet. Make sure the candy is secure and out of reach of the dog or cat. Chocolate and sugar fee candy which contains Xylitol are poisonous to pets and plastic wrappers and sticks pose a choking hazard This rule holds for pumpkins, maize, gourds and any other decorative plants used to dress up the house for the holiday. Make sure you're not using plants that are toxic to pets. While pumpkins, maize and gourds aren't necessarily toxic they might well cause stomach upset if ingested by your furry family member.
Electrical wires and candles are another pet hazard. Make sure wires are inaccessible to pets and replace real candles with battery operated ones to prevent burns and fires.
Some dogs and cats are easily spooked (no joke intended here) by all the activity. If your pet is sensitive keep him or her secured away from the front door or the part of the house used for parties. This will prevent your pet from bolting out the front door, becoming sick from stress or biting someone out of fear or frustration.
If your pet is a showoff and likes to dress up by all means turn him or her into a hot-dog with bun, a wizard, ghost or Dracula but please make sure the costume fits well, isn't confining, can't get caught on anything and doesn't have any parts a pet might decide are worth ingesting. If your pet isn't happy with dress up don't costume them.
Finally, it is a sad fact of life but some people use the holiday as an excuse to abuse animals. Be vigilant when protecting your pet(s) especially if you have a black cat. Black cats in particular are at risk during this holiday.
Halloween is generally a quiet affair at this house. Not too many trick-or-treaters ring our bell. Artie and I generally have a comfort food dinner then settle in to watch horror movies with some traditional Halloween candy for our dessert. Annie thankfully isn't upset by anyone coming to the house, she just loves to bark when they ring the bell and after her dinner she tries her best to mooch some treats but will have to settle for her dog cookies.
And of course, I will think of Buddy. I always wanted to dress up as a witch and have a picture taken with Buddy as my familiar but unfortunately I never got around to it. Such a photo would certainly have been a nice keepsake of a holiday I always enjoyed growing up.
Enjoy Halloween and keep the holiday season safe for your entire family especially the furry ones.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
|October photo from the 2012 Humane Society Calendar. With the exception of the white accents, he looks like a baby Buddy!|
Well, tomorrow is Halloween. It's always been my favorite holiday. I have my Halloween CDs ready and a few scary movies picked out to watch. I need some popcorn and candy appropriate for the season plus a firm decision as to what to serve for dinner and then the fun can start.
So cuddle with your kitty or snuggle with your dog and watch out for things that go bump in the night.
Meanwhile, consider helping animals looking for a forever home by adopting, fostering or donating money, necessities or time. Or putting out a meal for your neighborhood strays is a nice gesture.
Have a happy and safe Halloween...
Monday, October 29, 2012
It's been an unbelievable day. Current predictions put landfall at 30 minutes from the time I began writing this post at 5:30 PM. Transit, bridges and tunnels have been closed down; flights have been cancelled at our 3 major airports.
Here in Brooklyn we've been indoors for the entire day. Thankfully, we are not in Zone A which is under a mandatory evacuation edict. The only member of our family who is depressed with all of this is Annie. She just does not understand why she can't go out a million times today even if it is raining and the wind is stronger than she's ever experienced.
At one point Artie had to clear leaves from our front basement drain. I stayed on the porch while Artie did a quick clean-up. All of a sudden, I looked down and Annie was standing beside me. She opened my apartment door, the foyer door and the front door with her nose and she was preparing to step out on the porch. I chased her inside.
The funny part of all this is Annie does not like rain. She will not stay out or go for a walk in the rain but the biggest storm we've had in decades - well that apparently is another story!
|Hey, Sandy ruined my day - I want to go out!|
Sunday, October 28, 2012
With the approach of Hurricane Sandy imminent, most of the Eastern seaboard is gearing up to either evacuate or ride it out.
My furry charges don't have any choice but to weather the storm outside. It's very upsetting to me to know they will be at the mercy of the elements but I have done what I could for them. Silver Grey and her baby were waiting for me this morning so I served an extra-large meal mixed with water for them just before noon. They left a few nuggets untouched. At least I know they have a good meal in them in case I can't put anything out tomorrow. If the rain doesn't start by sundown, I will serve another meal before the storm breaks.
The front porch gang is another story. Very rarely will any of them come around during the day; my guess is because my block is very busy and they are afraid of people. I will put an oversized food-mixed-with-water meal out front the same time I serve the second meal to Mom and baby. In the interim, I brought in all empty food and water dishes. I removed the lid from my compost bin securing it under my back porch steps along with the trash can we use to bag weeds. I checked the front porch bringing in two empty flower pots along with the dishes. I tied the cat shelter to the wrought iron fence and made sure our wicker love seat was still anchored tightly to the fence.
After doing all this, I found the following email from Neighborhood Cats. I'm sure they won't mind my posting it here. It's very good practical advice on how to manage a colony in the event of a storm. Good information for anyone taking care of one or many outdoor cats that cannot be brought inside.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
This is an issue I've just come across and apparently a very big controversy. Bottom line, I feel about this the same way I feel about declawing cats, I personally would never do it to an animal I loved (or any animal at all).
Granted, I've never experienced barking that caused more than annoyance to me and my family. We've never had complaints from neighbors about incessant noise so I don't have first-hand experience of this. However, after reading the article on nbcnews.com Vitals I find it hard to agree with those who are proponents of what I consider a barbaric practice.
Behavior modification and extensive training is the way to go. If all else fails, find your pet a new home as heartbreaking as that may be to do. Don't jeopardize your pet's quality of life by silencing him or her. Humans talk, dogs bark. Would you want your voice forcibly taken away from you?
Think about it, follow the link, view the video and decide for yourself...
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Monday, October 22, 2012
Sunday, late morning, Annie and I went for an extended walk just to take advantage of another day of beautiful weather. Bright sunshine and mild temperatures made the walk fun instead of obligatory and when we finished, I grabbed a broom, sweeping the porch while Annie sniffed around and checked out everyone passing by our house.
Once the leaves were off the porch, I emptied the water and food dishes then placed them back in their respective spots. The big moment had arrived - I brought out the new addition to the front porch, the winter cat shelter. It didn't take much thought to decide the best place for it - I moved one of my flower pots positioning the shelter between the corner of the porch and our old wicker love-seat.
All that remains now is to determine which, if any, of the cats start using it. Now I can focus on TNR.
|Close-up of the shelter.|
|A picture of the front porch with the new shelter.|
|Annie in the shot for 'scale'.|
Sunday, October 21, 2012
It is Sunday afternoon as I write this post; Saturday was my exercise in persistence that paid off. It also was a trip around the world or at least around Brooklyn - it was my appointed day to pick up our new winter cat shelter.
Thankfully, the weather was perfect for travelling public transportation and all the walking I managed to do before I arrived at the pickup point. A 2-train and 1-bus trip coupled with wrong directions and the wrong bus stop supplied by a well-meaning but not-too-familiar-with-his-route bus driver added about thirty minutes and a crash course of a section of DUMBO to my travelling time. That was OK because I did get to enjoy the great weather besides seeing a part of Brooklyn I never visited before.
Once I arrived at my destination, I found it ironic that the bus stop I needed was 2 stops past the one where the bus driver told me to exit and happened to be right in front of the place I needed to go! So much for asking for directions.
The winter shelter is spacious and should accommodate about 4 cats. Since we have about 7 cats showing up on a regular basis, I could have used an additional shelter but there was no way I could manage another on the return trip. Neighborhood Cats supplied the shelters for $10 each instead of the usual $15 along with straw.
Armed with the shelter and an extra bag of straw I was ready to make the return trip. Sadly, I had to forgo a plastic bag of food since it was too heavy to carry home. How I could have used that food!
Artie managed to get another picture of the Norwegian Forest Cat Saturday evening when he showed up for dinner. I can't keep calling him 'the Norwegian Forest Cat' - the more I look at him the more he looks like Buddy except for the white and tan accents on his chest and face. Maybe I ought to refer to him as Buddy's cousin?
We caught a glimpse of one of the black cats and both Artie and I thought we saw a collar. If we're right, someone is letting their house cat out or has abandoned their pet. It put me in mind of Six Dinner Sid a perfectly charming children's book about a smart cat who manages to live with 6 families on the same block so he can get 6 dinners every day. He answers to 6 different names, has 6 different beds and everything works great until Sid catches a cold.
After the trips and picking up the supplies, I fed everyone and put out fresh water. At that point I decided enough was enough, I needed to do some chores for the canine and humans in our house so setting up the shelter would have to wait for Sunday. The Gimme Shelter saga will continue with my next post...
Friday, October 19, 2012
I know the first picture looks like Silver Grey but take it from me, it's her sister, Charcoal Grey. I'd just finished putting dinner out back for the kitten and Silver Grey so both were busy eating when I discovered 2 regulars patiently awaiting the arrival of their dinner not necessarily my arrival.
After getting a good look at the Norwegian Forest Cat, it's obvious he's a mix of a few breeds but until I come up with a name he'll have to remain 'the Norwegian Forest Cat'. I think he's beautiful.
Do I think we're making progress? You bet I do! To find them waiting for their meal is gratifying to say the least. Both cats wouldn't stay on the same porch with me before now - definite progress. Brother was around also but ran away before we could get a picture, probably because Annie was with us.
There is at least 1 possibly 2 small black cats that come for an evening meal. As soon as we appear the black cat disappears. Next step, names and a winter shelter then plans for TNR.
|Charcoal Grey waiting for her turn at dinner.|
|The Norwegian Forest Cat holds still for a photo.|
Thursday, October 18, 2012
|Kitten and Silver Grey|
|See the white tip on the tail? I'm thinking of calling him Paintbrush.|
|As always waiting for dinner.|
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The kitten is coming into his own. While still adorable, he is definitely getting bigger. He frequently romps around the backyard; I've yet to see him out front.
I have noticed that "Mom" is leaving him alone more and more. I wanted to add some photos to this post but the kitten isn't around so I will have to add them another day.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Lest any of my readers begin to think of me as a total homebody or obsessed animal lady I do want to state that I have many and varied other interests and Saturday evening was spent indulging one of them.
I have been a passionate theatre-goer since I was seventeen years old and that passion has yet to dim. Anything Shakespeare, classic playwrights such as Arthur Miller, Tennesse Williams, performers synonymous with Broadway (Frank Langella, Al Pacino, Boyd Gaines, Rosemary Harris, Cherry Jones), comedies and muscials - I'm forever on the lookout for the next great experience.
And Town Hall on Saturday night was not only the next great experience but a wonderful walk down memory lane. Linda Eder (that's pronounced Edd-er) performed in concert with guest stars and former Jekyll & Hyde cast-mates Robert Cuccioli and Christiane Noll.
While I never qualified as a 'Jekkie', Jekyll & Hyde is one of my favorite shows. Blown away by the music and the vocal talents of the 3 principles, I did see it several times during it's original Broadway run. Artie and I took a break from our usual weekend routine to have dinner out and attend the performance.
The show was marvelous. Linda Eder, Robert Cuccioli and Christiane Noll were all in fine voice. Linda Eder's song list covered a wide range of musical styles from Willie Nelson's classic country-western song Crazy to rock and pop to the academy award winning movie theme Over The Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz. The highlight of the evening was the weaving of all the major Jekyll & Hyde songs throughout the entire show. Linda structured the songlist to include each performer singing their Jekyll & Hyde signature song individually as well as a guest-star duet and in duet with her. As a selection for all 3 to sing together, Linda chose a number from an upcoming Frank Wildhorn show about Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald.
And Linda mentioned Pets Alive a no-kill shelter which is dear to her heart. Pets Alive is located in the Catskills about an hour and a half out of New York City. Learn more about this no kill shelter by checking out their website:
Unfortunately, no picture-taking was allowed but I did find a review with a photo from the show and a video someone posted on YouTube so enjoy. Artie and I did.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Well, we're at the end of another week and I feel I have made definite progress with all my feral cat charges. Next weekend I will be picking up straw and winter housing for them. Today, I have a few important items on my agenda.
First, I'll spend some additional time with Annie. She seems to be happier and more engaged since Artie and I have been giving her extra attention and including her in more of our activities -inside and out.
Next, I need to set aside some time to just sit and re-read portions of the feral colony TNR paperwork. Traps need to be reserved, provisions and supplies gathered along with trap covers, plastic sheets and newspapers. And spay-neuter appointments need to be set up.
Since I'm getting a regular contingent of cats showing up for dinner, I need to take stock of the food supply and order more if need be. Some internet research for a feeding station and winter-appropriate bowls is in order.
All of this has to be worked into whatever else is on my to-do list for today and I'm looking forward to it.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Some amazing things are starting to happen. The baby is running across yards when I come out with food and actually allowing me to stand within two steps of the food dish while he eats. (I keep saying he but for all I know the baby could be a she.) On the other hand, Silver Grey hisses at me at least once sometimes two or three times while I put out water and food. This is a regular occurrence; I don't think it will change.
Today we put the food out front a bit after 6 PM. I spied the Norwegian Forest Cat making his way across the street towards our front porch. He was proceeding with caution along the front of the buildings a few houses away when one of the neighborhood kids decided to chase him. The frightened cat darted out into the street. Thankfully, he wasn't hit by a car.
Artie found him hiding under a van. No amount of calling or coaxing could get him to budge. He pulled a disappearing act - neither of us saw him come out from under that van. One minute he was there; the next he was gone. It was like he vanished into thin air! We finished up our chores. Artie walked Annie; I swept leaves then we went off to do some grocery shopping at the local greengrocer.
When we returned home, we found the Norwegian Forest Cat on the porch eating his dinner. He looked at us and froze; we talked softly to him. As we came on the porch, he moved to the other side but he didn't run away. He just sat there and looked at us. Another first! As we came in we noticed Charcoal Grey under our wicker love-seat.
After the front door closed, the Norwegian Forest Cat went back to the food dish to finish his meal. Slowly, the cats are beginning to get used to us and more importantly they are anticipating their daily meal showing up before I serve it.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Our Saturday evening feeding session turned out to be full of surprises.
Artie arrived home later than usual so by the time we had the food and water ready to go it was dusk. Of course, Annie came out while we cleaned up, changed the water and put down a generous-sized plate of mixed dry and wet food.
Fifteen minutes later, Artie decided to check and to his surprise found Brother and Charcoal Grey sharing a meal. He slowly stepped outside talking to both cats and neither of them ran away. Real progress I would say. They both looked at him then continued their meal.
Once Artie relayed this bit of information to me I decided to look outside. In addition to Brother and Charcoal Grey, I found the small black cat and the Norwegian Forest Cat awaiting their turns at the food. I came inside and prepared a second plate of mixed food.
When everyone left, Artie put the second plate out and by 10 PM all the food except for a few forlorn dry nuggets had been eaten. This makes me hopeful that everyone will come on a regular basis and early enough to make trapping them less of a chore.
Two weekends from now I will be picking up a winter shelter and some straw. After that I plan to make arrangements for TNR. And what is my biggest decision? Whether or not to attempt taking care of all 6 cats at once. Actually, I'm leaning towards trapping the 2 in the backyard first then at another time the 4 out front. We will see...
Saturday, October 6, 2012
After a busy week there's nothing better than relaxing for the weekend. Not me, Annie. It seems Artie and I never get to relax there's just too much to do.
Annie, on the other hand, has all the time in the world to do whatever she wants. When she was a puppy her energy levels were off the charts. Now that she's older, she's still energetic but she definitely spends more time lounging about.
So as I spend my weekend working, Annie is spending her weekend relaxing. Take a look...
|Stop taking photos, I'm trying to sleep.|
|The recliner all to myself.|
|Little Annie in Slumber-land.|
Friday, October 5, 2012
Now that Silver Grey and her baby are showing up regularly for meals, even coming into the yard while I'm filling up their dish, I know I'm making real progress. Today the baby let me briefly touch his head with one finger. He didn't run away or even get startled but he did hiss at me.
The bigger problem is the front porch colony. I put out the food and it stays there until well after dark. I need to ascertain exactly who is showing up to eat and when. I guess I'm going to have to sit by my front window or in the front hall for a few evenings to try and track the feline traffic.
We do know a small black cat shows up early mornings; Artie sees her when he leaves for work. And Silver Grey's sister, Charcoal Grey comes after dark. Since her sister delivered the last litter, Charcoal Grey no longer stays in the back yard.
Neither of us has seen the Norwegian Forest Cat or Brother or the fifth cat we never got a good look at for weeks and weeks.
But first things first - I've ordered two shelters and straw which will be ready for pickup in about 2 weeks and getting Mom and baby spayed/neutered is important as well. Then I can turn my attentions to the front porch next.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
According to the Humane Society Calendar my friend Annette and her children Amanda and Jaime gave me it's Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.
What can I say that hasn't been said before? If you are looking to add a canine to your family, consider rescuing a shelter dog. If you want a puppy, consider an older dog or a special needs dog instead. If you really want to get a purebred, search the internet for a breed specific rescue group.
If you can't adopt at this time, consider donating time to a shelter as a volunteer. If you don't have the time then make a donation - it doesn't have to be monetary. There are many rescue groups that take rags, plastic bags, cleaning supplies and newspapers to clean and line cages and pick up after the dogs. Just call the rescue group of your choice and find out what's needed.
And I would add one more thought to all of this - just because it's Adopt a Shelter Dog Month that doesn't mean you can't consider adopting a shelter cat or any other rescued animal - turtle, lizard, bird, hamster, guinea pig, etc. I bet the selection is endless.
If there's room in your home and in your heart, adopt a shelter animal. You will save a life and unconditional love will come to you.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Welcome to the Official Harlequin Blog Book Tour for A Dog Named Boo by Lisa J. Edwards.
Most pet owners have had their hearts stolen by a potential pet that just seems to have the cards stacked against him or her. How many have taken that little dog or cat changing their life by giving them a wonderful home and boundless love? I'm sure quite a few of us have done that at least once in our lifetime. I know I have. And how many of us have had our lives changed in the process?
This is the story of Boo, abandoned with his siblings, the runt of his litter and the dunce of his obedience class. It is also the story of Lisa, a certified professional dog trainer, publishing professional, wife and pet parent to 2 cats and 2 dogs who added Boo to the family, gave him a shot at life and a chance to shine as a therapy dog and the bond between them that helped Lisa overcome the obstacles in her life, restore faith in herself and take the final step toward the fulfillment of a dream.
Advance praise for A DOG NAMED BOO
"The best animal stories are about relationships, and nothing is better than a story like A Dog Named Boo….
Lisa and Boo's joy at helping others is inspiring; but it's their belief in each other, even when no one else believed, that touched my heart."
–Bret Witter, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Dewey and Until Tuesday
One of Publishers Weekly Top 10 Memoirs of 2012!
“A fascinating look at what service dogs can accomplish…. Readers interested in dogs and service animals will enjoy this story of resilience.”
“As a bonus, even those who don’t have dogs will come away with an understanding of positive training methods, therapy dog work,
and the countless benefits of canine companionship.” — CJ Puotinen, author of The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care, cofounder of the
Hudson Valley Visiting Pet Program
Boo is a wonderful story for any animal lover, pet parent, dedicated rescuer or person interested in partnering with their pet as a therapy team. An easy read that draws you in right from the start, filled with warmth and heart, Boo shows how loving, supporting and believing in oneself and others can bring about extraordinary results. A perfect book to curl up with as the evenings turn chilly and autumn is in the air. Grab a mug of warm cider and read the story of a dog named Boo and his relationship with Lisa as it started twelve Halloweens ago...
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
October 2nd - Buddy's 6th month anniversary. I cannot believe he's gone half a year.
I still miss him and think about him every day. Taking care of the feral cats has taken a bit of the loneliness away. At least I'm caring for some cats that really need a guardian angel. I try never to forget that at one time my little man was in that number.
There are reminders of Buddy all over the house. I can't bring myself to part with his possessions. The blankets I made for him have been given to Annie. A little 2-drawer cabinet in my living room contains dog and cat books and Buddy's toys. Catnip-filled animals handmade by a friend are tucked away there along with his plastic light-up ball, several stuffed mice and his comb and brush set.
His old beat-up covered litter box is in my front hall. I intended to throw it away but instead scrubbed it sparkling clean when I decided to become a feral colony caretaker. Eventually I will place it outside for the cats to use. Plastic utensils I would have utilized for Buddy's food are now used for the outside cats.
Nestled in my kitchen cabinet are the whimsical lids used to seal Buddy's partially eaten canned food. Brightly colored, this pair of plastic lids more than all Buddy's other possessions remind me of the happiness he brought into my life. And so we mark another month without you, Buds. We miss you.
Monday, October 1, 2012
I realize I've been writing almost exclusively about Silver Grey and her baby. My guess is because, like everyone else, I'm a sucker for a kitten (or a puppy for that matter).
Anyway, I don't want anyone to think Annie is being ignored during this process. In fact, Annie is participating in it. I've incorporated her into the feeding routine so she doesn't feel left out. She has a tendency to bark at the baby, scaring the daylights out of him. The poor baby heads for cover never to hear her cry and whine after the initial couple of barks.
Annie just wants to play. I give her access to the back porch while I prepare food and water. Once she's been out a reasonable amount of time I bring her in then I put out the food and change the water. Annie sits by the kitchen door waiting for me.
Artie has gotten into the habit of calling from our train station to let me know he's almost home. Annie gets excited because she knows the phone call means she gets to go out front and wait for Artie. I take the remainder of the food plus more water and the both of us head for the front porch.
While I clean up, change the water and put down food Annie sniffs the entire porch including the furniture (she's a beagle after all). In the beginning she tried to snitch cat food but after a few "ahh, ahh's" from me she doesn't do that anymore.
Once she has a nose-full of all the scents she finds so enticing, Annie will stand on the furniture checking the block for Artie. If she doesn't see him, she proceeds to patrol the fence along the front of the porch looking and listening for him.
As soon as she spots him, she snaps to attention then the tail starts to wag, she starts to whine and her body vibrates. Before long, she's running all over the porch and as Artie gets closer to the house, Annie positions herself by the gate, dancing around until Artie lets himself in.
And so it goes every day except on the weekends when we all feed the cats together.