Thursday, August 30, 2012


We continue to put down food and water every evening both in the backyard and on our front porch for the neighborhood strays and ferals.  Aside from Silver Grey and her baby, our nightly diners were never in sight when the food was served. That is until recently.

Silver Grey and baby are always in the backyard but since the arrival of the kitten no one else is there - not Brother, Charcoal Grey or the Norwegian Forest Cat. Never anyone around out front waiting for food so you can imagine how shocked we were to head outside a few nights back about an hour past our schedule to find not one, not two but five cats hanging out looking for a meal!

The group consisted of Charcoal Grey, Brother, the Norwegian Forest Cat, an adolescent black cat and another we did not get a good look at. Charcoal Grey did not run away when we came out but everyone else scattered with the Norwegian Forest Cat running into the street so fast we were afraid he would get hit by a car.

Last night I went out about two hours after we put the food out to discover Charcoal Grey lounging in the dark on the wicker love seat. I spoke softly to her for a few seconds; she just calmly looked at me without appearing spooked or ready to bolt.

So, a little at a time, trust is being built. I'm hopeful I will be able to improve the quality of life for these cats, at last count, seven in all.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


We had  thunderstorms on and off yesterday and early today. Naturally, I was concerned for the little kitty. The sun came out early this afternoon and Silver Grey once again had the kitty out in the weeds in my neighbor's yard.

The baby is so cute and appears to be steadier on his/her feet and getting bigger and stronger. Meanwhile we keep putting out food and water. Annie has taken to stopping briefly by the fence when she goes into the yard just to take a look then she goes off to sniff, dig, run and do all the things dogs generally like to do.

Now I'm thinking about the possibility of taking this kitten in and I think Artie might be like-minded in this. One step at a time - our class is next week then I can focus on the logistics and timing for TNR. For now, I will continue to feed and monitor our stray/feral population.

Silver Grey hanging out late Monday night.

The kitten is elsewhere.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Apparently some of my neighbors have real issues with the strays and ferals. Since my TNR class is coming up soon, I've been talking to some of the neighbors to prepare them for what I'll be doing.

One neighbor said he had no problem, the cats didn't bother him. They hang out in his yard but he doesn't feed them. However, he did tell me that another neighbor has a problem with them and puts out ammonia to get rid of them. I gathered from the way he talked, my neighbors 'had words'.

A few days later when Annie and I were leaving the house for a late afternoon walk, the other neighbor was outside. We started talking about Annie. Naturally I steered the conversation to the cats. She complained about them hanging out in her alleyway and backyard, telling me she wanted to have her exterminator trap them explaining he then takes them to New Jersey, releasing them where they can't get back to Brooklyn.

I told her not to do this explaining that I will soon be certified to handle the cats through a program supported by the Mayor's Alliance and it's the best way to deal with the stray cat issue. Artie pointed out the cats take care of rats and mice which apparently our neighbor didn't think about.

Then she complained about having to buy expensive garbage cans because the cats get into the garbage. I pointed out the cats possibly weren't the garbage culprits because we have raccoons coming through the neighborhood. Adamantly she replied "I've never seen raccoons" to which my brother and I chorused "Oh, we have! More than once." She was stunned.

Next it was my turn to be stunned as she mentioned she had a possum so she called the exterminator, had him trap it and relocate it. I told her not to call the exterminator for possums - they don't carry rabies and they are around because the City brought them in to deal with the rat population. She looked at me as if I were crazy or having some sort of hallucinations. 

Needless to say I was heartbroken. What is the probability of there being 2 possums on the same block? She trapped Pat Possumwaithe and had him taken away. I can only hope the exterminator DID relocate him as he said instead of killing him. So now we know why Pat isn't around anymore.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Annie really is enjoying her yard again. She's been running around, playing, sitting out and sunning herself since we restarted our cleanup project yesterday.

Now she's dirty and needs a good bath so that will be on the agenda for tonight or early tomorrow.  She still goes out a million times a day and never fails to look for the cats before she does anything else. And every evening after she finishes her meal she goes into her wiggly dance. After a long day, if Annie is particularly tired, she buries under an old blanket I keep on the back of the recliner to take a nap.

My sweetie is certainly one happy dog! And one very tired one as you can see from the pictures Artie took yesterday evening after her day of play.

Annie in Dreamland.

Ahh, leave me alone. I wanna sleep.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Today we resumed cleaning up the yard because Silver Grey and her baby have moved out. The kitten hasn't been sighted in two days so we decided to clean up and let Annie have the run of the yard again.

We started early this morning. First we checked the entire yard then we let Annie down to play while we cleaned. She happily ran around and generally had a terrific time. After awhile we noticed she was focusing on one part of the fence running back and forth, crying and craning her neck to see through the weeds on the opposite side.

Annie became very excited and kept focusing on one particular section of the fence. Immediately we put her inside then went back to check. There was the kitten hidden in the weeds in our neighbor's yard. The baby is absolutely adorable - soft and fluffy with blue eyes. Of course, Silver Grey wasn't far away and she remained close by for the entire time we worked outside.

While we pulled weeds and swept up, the baby nursed, slept, did some toddling and the wiggly dance just like Annie does. I'm relieved to know where the baby is. Now I can keep track until it's time to TNR.

Through the fence. You can see how tiny the kitten is.
Up close and personal.

And Mom always close by.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Yesterday I spoke too soon.  By late afternoon, the presence of Silver Grey's kitten no longer graced our backyard. She moved her baby elsewhere - exactly where we don't know.

She did show up for dinner as did Brother. And she was around this morning but still no sign of the kitten. All of this is very disturbing to Annie who has not used her yard in the past 3 weeks. As soon as I'm sure the kitten is no longer in the pile of weeds, I will give Annie the run of the yard again. It's unfair to her to keep her confined.

A black cat is taking advantage of the evening meals we put on our front porch. Yesterday he showed up as I left the food and changed the water preferring to hide under a nearby car until I went inside. With the newborn kitten, there are now at least 4 felines we will TNR possibly 5 if the Norwegian Forest Cat turns up again. 

Monday, August 20, 2012


Well, it's Monday afternoon and it is apparent that Silver Grey's pregnancy produced only one offspring.  The kitten has been outside for the better part of the day every day starting with Saturday.  Artie and I have been keeping an eye on the baby and on Silver Grey's comings and goings.

She spends quite a bit of time with her baby, taking care of feeding, cleaning and cuddling. She hisses at us if we come too close. Artie did get a few still photos. We keep putting out food and fresh water every evening. So far, she seems to prefer making a home for her baby in our yard. Let's hope she doesn't change her mind.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Saturday evening Artie and I started our regular routine. Since the humidity Brooklyn was enveloped in had broken, we took Annie for a very long leisurely walk. Afterwards, we sat outside for awhile enjoying the beautiful weather.

We decided to take care of the cats before ourselves and Annie so we could settle in and have a nice quiet dinner just the 3 of us. When Artie and I descended the back stairs to put down food and change the water, I noticed a kitten among the newly growing weeds at the opposite side of the yard from the weed pile.

An adorable light grey kitten with blue eyes mewing for Mom but Silver Grey was nowhere in sight. Artie rushed in and came back with my camera. He took some video (both pieces are very short) and here it is!

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Friday evening after a very hectic work week, it was time to feed everyone and I do mean everyone. After preparing supper for me and Artie, we put a meal out for Silver Grey. She was sitting in the yard next to her bowl waiting for her food. Once her food was put out and her water changed, we returned to the kitchen to prepare Annie's meal.

Annie excitedly ate her supper and proceeded to do her wiggly dance, wiggling around on the floor and moving her back legs like she was riding a bike. Finally, Artie and I decided to take a break and have dessert before we checked the front porch for Charcoal Grey.

When we were finished with dessert, we expected to find Charcoal Grey lounging on our wicker furniture. We prepared a meal and fresh water then headed for the front porch. No one was around; we cleaned up, put down the food and water then came in.

Awhile later I checked but the food was still there.  Artie took Annie for her last walk of the day. When he came in, he very excitedly explained the food was gone. He found not Charcoal Grey but a black cat and the Norwegian Forest Cat sharing the meal. They hurriedly finished then scooted off the porch and across the street, running in front of Annie who was delighted to see them both.

It looks as if the group is larger than I thought. Thankfully, we're getting closer to September 5th and the TNR class.

Friday, August 17, 2012


There weren't enough hours in this week. I've been so busy there literally wasn't time to post the last 2 days. Brother showed up today, snagging a meal in the process. Silver Grey was sitting outside the opening to her den watching the entrance. I've observed her going in on at least 3 occasions. This confirms for me her kittens are still in the pile of weeds.

Charcoal Grey spent another evening lounging on our wicker furniture; again a meal was provided. We've been looking for her every night but she hasn't been around the last 2 leastwise not when we checked. However, meals have been provided and those meals have been eaten we just don't know by whom. 

So it appears we have 2 steady customers - Silver Grey and Charcoal Grey and 1 semi-regular - Brother. Artie and I will continue to put out food. The kittens are about 3 weeks old giving us plenty of time to get the adults dependent on our meals before they are ready to be trapped, spayed or neutered and released again to our care.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Although no sightings of the kittens have taken place or kitten sounds have been heard, I'm sure they are still in the weed pile since Silver Grey is never far away.  Today Annie found her lounging on my neighbor's porch - very uncharacteristic behavior for her. I can only guess she is taking frequent breaks from her babies since I see her in our yard, the adjacent yards or on the back porches always with a clear visual path to that mound of weeds.

Monday night I came home rather late from the city. It was already dark when Artie met me in front of the house to caution me to proceed quietly and slowly. Charcoal Grey was lounging on our wicker furniture. She watched me walk across the porch then decided to leave. Artie put plates with food and water out for her.

Today I ran into my neighbor with the cat/kittens in residence and spoke with him. He believes there are about five cats all together in his yard. I'm taking that to mean a mother and her four kittens.

We haven't seen Brother for a few days but Artie did get a few pictures for me to post. Examining them it looks like Brother has a tipped left ear so there is a distinct possibility he has been caught and fixed. If that is the case I wonder who did the TNR - they would have to be nearby.

This is Brother, isn't he handsome!  (All photos by Artie.)

Silver Grey taking a break from her babies.

Brother making use of our yard by sleeping on the cement.

Brother just lounging around.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


A few weeks back, Artie found a dead kitten in the street. We had no idea where the kitten came from. Neither of us saw any pregnant cats except Silver Grey.

When Artie took Annie for her before-supper walk Saturday, he saw kittens and a mother cat under a car parked in our neighbor's driveway diagonally across the street from our house. Our neighbor happened to be outside and he told Artie the cat and her babies are living in his backyard. Of course, there are more kittens. From the size of the dead kitten I estimate the litter mates to be about 3 months old.

I need to get in touch with someone so we can possibly do a TNR now. I'd hate to wait longer because the mother can get pregnant again. So now we have a clowder of cats. And the group gets bigger...

Friday, August 10, 2012


For the modern family life is busy and it places many demands on all members. Moms hold down jobs, run their households and care for the kids. Singles and married couples have the responsibilities of home care for elderly relatives.

Such scenarios sometime require outside help to come into the home. That help can come in the form of medical professionals, healthcare workers such as home health aides or therapists, housekeepers, babysitters and nannies.

If you have a dog or cat and need to enlist the services of housekeepers, babysitters or nannies you cannot assume they will be OK with your furry family member. Anyone considering a position with a family where one of the members is canine or feline must be informed of the pet's presence before the business arrangement is finalized. In fact, the prospective worker and the pet should meet each other at least once (preferably more) beforehand.

Chronic illness brings its own set of issues regarding the family pet. If you have a situation where doctors, nurses, therapists or phlebotomists come to the house on a regular basis, it is best to confine your pet while they are there. In the case of home health aides you will have to partner with the home care agency to identify aides without allergies who are willing to work in a home with  a pet. You must work with your pet to guarantee a good rapport with the aide and you must make it clear to the aide that you do not expect them to care for the pet.

Finally, if you have a situation where you are considering bringing a pet into a home that already has a housekeeper, babysitter or nanny, the following post from Blog covers everything the prospective pet parent needs to consider in regards to their employee.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


The last few days have been extremely busy. Artie and I are signed up for the TNR class Neighborhood Cats' will have on September 5th. I spoke with Lois at Neighborhood Cats about the kitten situation. She reassured me that managing them as part of a feral colony is fine since there are so many kittens adoption is slim at this particular time.

Feeding on a regular basis is the first step in setting up a good routine that will allow us to trap them. It's a good feeling to know we're starting out on the right foot. We have to keep track of the weeks since the kittens were born in order to trap everyone at once and get the spay/neutering, ear tipping and rabies vaccinations done.

Silver Grey and Brother polished off three pouches of wet food today. I think it's safe to say they will be back on a regular basis.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


All's quiet for the time being. Unfortunately, Annie is confined to the porch. I've been thinking about the girls and need to give them more descriptive names so I've decided to call the girl who just gave birth, Silver Grey  and her sister I'll call Charcoal Grey.

Silver Grey definitely has her new family in the pile of weeds. She's never far away, in fact, the farthest she ventures is the next yard. Early this afternoon, I found her lounging on my back porch, keeping an eye on the weeds. This is very different behavior from her usual one or two daily trips through the yard looking for food. Charcoal Grey hasn't been around for a number of days and I wonder if that has anything to do with the newborns. Neither has Brother nor the Norwegian Forest Cat.

I'm waiting to hear if there is space for us at the September 5th TNR class. In the interim, I need more information on how to handle this situation so it's time to make some phone calls to those who know. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012


The full modern translation of Robert Burns' famous quote from his poem To A Mouse is "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry". And boy did my plans ever! Go awry, that is.

Extremely early Saturday morning, I let Annie in the yard to take care of business and get a bit of exercise before the day turned impossibly hot and humid. There is still a gigantic pile of weeds, the end result of our yard clean-up effort, that need bagging. Annie has been using them as her own canine version of a jump bar in some kind of doggie Olympics but this particular morning she didn't jump over. Instead she kept circling the pile and crying.

Realizing what was going on, I chased her away from the pile and gave her the voice/hand commands to get on the porch. She did and I closed the gate. After a quick visual once over of the weed-mound I noticed what appeared to be an opening in an inconspicuous spot. Now I knew the reason for the circling and crying. "Great," I thought to myself, "Now I've got cats sleeping in the pile of weeds." Not realizing what exactly was going on.

Sunday morning came and the day was shaping up to be even hotter, more humid and definitely more uncomfortable than Saturday. When I opened the back door I decided to only allow Annie on the porch. Much later on I decided to take a peek at the back to see if any of the strays showed up since I didn't see any of them the day before. There was the first girl sitting and licking her paws.

I grabbed some pouch food and went into the yard to fill her bowl. As I approached she hissed at me. She held her ground then made a defensive move towards me but thought better of it, ducking under the fence into the adjoining yard. She sat there hissing at me. "What are you hissing at me for, dummy, I'm feeding you." I said to her. I poured the food into the bowl from a standing position since she was acting funny. She skirted around me to sit next to the opening in the weeds hissing all the while. Dummy me! Then I was hit with the dawning realization why the defensive behavior and what I heard next confirmed it - a kitten crying!

Now I have a pile of weeds in the backyard that can't be bundled up until the babies emerge. Annie will have to be confined to the porch, I don't know if my brother and I will be able to do any other cleaning and I need to get some expert advice on how to handle the next couple of months.

The weeds Girl and her babies call home.

The dark area against the cinder-block wall is the opening to their den.

Friday, August 3, 2012


The daily offerings of food have prompted the strays to come through our yard on a regular basis - at least the girls do. We haven't seen Brother in more than a week - I think.  A few days back the Norwegian Forest Cat was in our neighbor's yard along with the girls.

Artie put out food but he retreated to the farthest end of that yard, settled himself down in a reclining position to watch the proceedings without availing himself of a meal. The refusal marks two ocassions in the past week we were not able to get him to eat. I suspect he will be the hardest one to persuade to the dinner table.

At least the girls show up like clockwork every day looking for their handout. Both are very thin now which means there is a batch of newborns somewhere nearby or there is yet another cat that looks like Mommy, pregnant and somewhere in the area.

Yesterday, the second girl showed up first. She is really timid and is generally bullied by her sister. If she tries to get her share of a meal her sister swipes at her. She will shrinkingly back off to sit patiently and wait for her sibling to finish. Ever so cautiously she came into the yard only to shy away if I moved too quickly. Once the food was down, she watched me until I was on the porch. Deeming it safe to commence eating, she proceeded to "chow down" once I closed the porch gate.

While she was having her meal, I managed to get a decent picture of her.  She looks like her sister with the exception of darker coloring. As of this posting, I have yet to see Brother.

The next TNR class conveniently located for me is scheduled for September 5th in midtown Manhattan. There is the 8 lesson online course but I would much prefer the human interaction to sitting in front of my computer so I keep telling myself it's just four weeks away. The time will pass quickly. Then I will be able to trap them before winter sets in.  Once there is no longer a concern about offspring, I can focus on not only feeding them and supplying fresh water but concentrate on shelter from the cold.

Slightly darker coloring than her sister; otherwise they look exactly alike.

A decent meal before my sister shows up!

Thursday, August 2, 2012


The second of August and the start of another month without Buddy.

What changes a few short months have brought. When Buddy was here and needed my care, I never thought about managing a feral colony but I'm taking the first steps to do that now. While I was in nursing mode, I never realized how much effort and time went into Buddy's care. I never realized how much his care took away from Annie. The past few months have enabled me to give her more time, deepening our bond and settling us into an Annie-centered routine. I'm not saying the care and nursing were negatives but only remarking on the difference between a home free of chronic illness and a home coping with it.

Do I miss my Buddy? You can be sure I do. The simple act of writing about him makes me very sad. I don't believe that will ever change. Instead of taking care of Buddy I will now take care of the cats he would talk to from my back window. Life goes on...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Entitled "From Ashes To Answers", this beautiful sculpture of a firefighter and his arson investigation dog is our country's newest national monument. The bronze statue created by 22 year old Colorado firefighter Austin Weishel recently finished a 12 city tour with a scheduled stop in NYC before being permanently installed in our nation's capital.

A reminder of one of the many services our canine companions perform for us. The service dog reminds me of Annie...

To learn more about the monument and arson dogs: