Friday, September 28, 2012


It began as a dreary Friday morning filled with heavy and light bursts of rain. Somewhere after noontime the sun came out and it looked like we might catch a break from the depressing weather. Unfortunately, the optimism lasted only a couple of hours as the skies started to cloud over again lessening the sun and bringing back some of the dreariness.

According to the weathermen we're due for more rain all evening into the night and early morning. I decided to feed Silver Grey and her baby early since they were out taking advantage of the break from the rain. The baby is adorable - silver grey like Mom but with startling blue eyes, white paws, a white chest and a tip of white at the top of the tail.

Both sit and watch me from the other side of the fence as I change their water and put out their food. The baby is somewhat braver now, coming through the fence before I finish but then scooting back to Mom if I move unexpectedly.

Silver Grey will not come into the yard when I'm there. This is definitely a step back. When I first starting the feedings, her hunger overcame her fear and she would come very close to me as I put out the food. Since her baby was born she stays far away.

Today I did manage to get some great photos. The baby has grown and I need to make plans for TNR now!


I can't wait.

Can't you spoon that out faster?

Better do as Mom does.

Will  you leave so we can eat now?

Mom watches as baby eats.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Well, it certainly has been busy around this house the last few weeks. I think summer wanted to go out in a burst of activity and it certainly has. I've been busy with Annie, my feral colony, cooking, cleaning, shopping and paper, paper and more paper! And don't get me started on emails. With business, personal and blog email addresses, boy do I get plenty of them!
In the animal kingdom, the word harlequin means varied in color or having a white coat with irregular patches of  black or some other dark color; a Harlequin Great Dane is a perfect example. But in the world of women the word Harlequin can only mean one thing. BOOKS! And that goes double for someone like me since I work in the publishing industry.

Imagine the shock to find I'd received an email from Harlequin asking 8 Paws and 2 Tails to participate in a blog book tour for a new non-fiction book. What an honor to have been invited and I'm totally delighted to have 8 Paws and 2 Tails included in the tour.

The Harlequin Official Blog Book Tour will stop by our blog Thursday, October 4th. The title of the book on tour is A Dog Named Boo: How one Dog and One Woman Rescued Each Other and the Lives They Transformed Along the Way. The author is certified professional dog trainer Lisa J. Edwards.

Stop by October 4th to learn Boo and Lisa's heartwarming story.

What?! A book tour? That's great, Mom, now let's play.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I'm sure this is going to invite quite a bit of controversy. New Jersey is considering putting a pet seat-belt law into place to prevent pet-caused car accidents. Is this a good idea? I know it is. It isn't prudent to ride with a dog or cat loose in your car. And driving with your pet in your lap? Definitely not a smart move. Loose animals become projectiles during accidents. The consequences of a small pet going under the driver's legs is too horrifying to contemplate.  

Annie has always ridden as the front seat passenger in our car with her doggy seat-belt holding her securely in place. Buddy had other issues. Riding in his cat carrier gave him car sickness. Poor old Buddy would vomit and be totally wiped out by the time we reached the vet (his only car trips). Dr. Young thought not having a clear view while the car was in motion was the contributing factor for his nausea. She was right. Buddy's nausea and vomiting ended once we devised and kept to this routine. 

I would sit in the back seat directly behind Annie with Buddy and his carry case next to me. We purchased and used a small dog harness on Buddy with a matching leash, bright blue the same color as his collar. This is New York after all and it just wouldn't do for Buds to go out without coordinated accessories. Annie's seat belt was black to match her black and gold collar-just what any New York woman would wear, basic black.  As soon as Artie was ready to start the car, I would place a towel on my lap and take Buddy out of his carry case. He would stand with his hind legs on my leg and his front paws on the window ledge and look out the window. Not only did this keep him entertained but it kept him from getting sick.

The best part of this setup? All the smiling faces and startled looks from other cars stopped next to us at red lights. Everyone thought it was great to see a dog in her seat belt and a cat in harness riding right behind her.

The point of all this is neither of our pets caused any accidents and all of us and our fellow 'road warriors' were safe because of it. If the law needs to be tweaked so be it but it definitely is one for the books.

Read a bit more about it:


My friend Terri tells me Nino, the hero cat who was the subject of Wednesday's post, is still in foster care patiently awaiting his forever home.

It anyone is interested in adopting Nino, or another cat in need of a loving family, please contact City Critters at their email address,

If you have the room and the love to share, share it with a rescue. Rescue a life and the life you rescue will capture your heart.

(Photo from I Have Cat blog)

Friday, September 21, 2012


It's been a really crazy week; I'm amazed I didn't forget to take care of the strays with all the pressing chores on my to do list.

Annie, I think, has been possessed by the spirit of Buddy - she is learning to assert herself, nudging and annoying Mom into meeting her needs first. It's OK, Buddy did it to me every day of his life - I just couldn't get his food ready fast enough.  At least Annie doesn't talk incessantly or open my kitchen cabinet and knock cans of tuna, salmon, or dog and cat food off the shelves. She just stares at you, pokes you in the leg and when all else fails she whines and whines and whines. Believe me, it's just as effective as canned food hitting the kitchen floor.

Silver Grey comes for her food now when I call. So does the little kitty. And another very significant milestone - the kitten ate solid food for the first time today. I've been watching mother and baby every day and right up until today the baby was still nursing. As soon as the meal was put down, Silver Grey came running, the baby following as fast as he could. I watched from my kitchen door only to see the baby join Silver Grey at the food dish instead of romping about the yard. 

The front porch ration of food is disappearing almost completely every evening. My thoughts are to make appointments for Mom and baby, catch, fix, ear tip and vaccinate the two of them first then at a later date go through the process again with the front porch group.

And Artie tells me the front porch group is getting a bit less skittish in his presence. Progress, progress - all slow but definitely sure.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Terri and all my friends at City Critters were excited and thrilled to learn that a foster cat rescued from Animal Care and Control by one of their own has become a hero. Frankly, I was just as excited to read this wonderful story:

Just goes to prove animals are amazing. We do what we can for them and they repay us with their unconditional love, devotion and, in this case, an amazing display of heroism.

Kudos to the kitty on a job well done!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


The cats are winning the battle of getting them on a schedule. No one has shown up out front for a meal in about 3 days. I can't figure it out. Actually, of the 4 cats eating from the plates out front, I would say not all are coming around since very little of the food has been touched. Silver Grey and her baby are on a morning schedule but their food is placed out back.

Annie did have a couple of  late evenings of running to the front window whining and crying.  We didn't check. It was apparent she heard someone on the porch. During the early hours of Thursday morning we had our answer as to who that someone was.

About one in the morning Annie started whining, crying and letting out a few low-level barks. Artie tried to wake me but I was totally out so he decided to peek out our front windows to see if anyone was on the porch. To his great surprise, instead of a cat checking out the water and food dishes there was a small possum.

The little possum was pushing the empty food dishes around apparently picking up some spilled crumbs left by the cats. Artie said the visitor definitely wasn't Pat but he was cute nonetheless. So we have another possum and I'm fine with that. And if you're thinking the possum is the reason the cats aren't coming around you need to think again. Possums and cats get along just fine.

My guess? The cats are being cats - stubborn, aloof and unpredictable as usual. Once they decide they need 'staff' Artie and I will be elected to fill that position and they will gladly allow us to take care of them.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


It seems I have gotten away from my original purpose of writing about care of pets with chronic illnesses. Buddy's illness was all-consuming and with him gone now, caring for Annie is all-consuming in a different way.

It seems she goes through periods of sadness I can't seem to pull her out of. My guess is our total attention to Buddy caused this and it seems Artie and I cannot give her enough attention to keep her spirits up.  Today  she's already been out for her walk then out back and in again at least a half dozen times and we haven't gotten to lunchtime yet.

I'm sure boredom is playing a part in this so it's up to me to determine how to make her waking hours more interesting. My habit is to stick to a particular route when we go for our walks but yesterday Annie indicated twice she wanted to go off in a different direction than we usually take. When we go for our evening walk I will begin to vary our route. Varying the time is another trick I've found gives her a pleasant surprise and along with occasionally throwing in an extra walk goes a long way to improving her mood.

With the cooler weather, we will sit out front when Artie is due home so Annie can experience the excitement of watching for him and the satisfaction of seeing him approaching. And Artie will surprise her sometimes by coming from the opposite direction. This way she literally patrols the front porch keeping a lookout for him.

As with so many pet parents, I'm guilty of not paying enough attention to the cues Annie gives me. All I need to do is look into her beautiful eyes, read her sweet face and pick up on her body language to change this situation around. Lesson learned.

And I mustn't forget good wholesome food and treats, homemade by Mom, are an essential part of this mix. Put it all together and it spells L-O-V-E to Annie and to any cherished pet.

Monday, September 10, 2012


The weekend was busy. I'm trying frantically to get the cats on a schedule but not everyone is cooperating.  Silver Grey and her baby are just fine. The baby is still nursing so there's no interest in regular food yet and Mom shows up as soon as I open the back door.

I've changed feeding to very early morning before the neighborhood comes alive with its usual hustle and bustle. Late evening feeding wasn't producing the results I wanted, I could never track who was stopping by out front and I didn't like leaving food out all evening. From time to time we have raccoons coming through and I certainly don't want to feed them.

This morning I opened the front door at 6 AM to put out food and water. To my surprise the Norwegian Forest Cat was sitting by the empty bowls. Unfortunately he took off as soon as I came out and did not come back once the food and water was down.

I'm convinced it's going to take a very long time before most of them aren't skittish around me. Feeding time has been changed and we will see how that works out. For now the weather is starting to cool off so that brings up another concern - shelter. I'm worried about the little kitten since both mother and baby are staying exclusively in the backyard.

Research needs to be done on homemade housing and ready-made for purchase. I'll have to discuss this with Artie soon.

Friday, September 7, 2012


I haven't been able to corroborate this story but I remember it from a page in a dogs desk calendar a friend gave me many years ago:

In the ruins of Pompeii, archaeologists unearthed the remains of a boy and a large dog who seemed to be pulling on the boy's coat, trying to save or protect him. A collar  belonging to the dog bore the  inscription: "This dog has thrice saved the life of his little master. Once from fire, once from water and once from thieves."

The internet repeats this tale and attributes this act of heroism  to a dog named Delta.  Did you know there are still dogs in Pompeii today? Yes, strays and abandoned pets.

There are many dogs living among the ruins of Pompeii and the Italian government thankfully has taken steps towards spay/neuter, providing medical care, fostering and finding them permanent homes.

Here is the official website for the dogs of Pompeii:  

Thursday, September 6, 2012


I can't believe it's Thursday evening. We had an incredibly busy week. Annie had a bath a few days ago; that always is a major project.  Afterwards she was so happy she ran all over the house with her towel then went into her wiggly dance.

Artie and I packed up 7 shopping bags full of rags, blankets and small plastic bags then took them to Sean Casey Animal Rescue as a donation.  Let me tell you that made us feel great!

But the best part of the week was the TNR class we attended. We both received our certificate of completion and we are ready to embark on establishing our feral colony. Today we only saw 3 of the 7 cats we identified last week so we're wondering what's going on. Food has been put out but nothing was touched this evening. We will have to keep checking and we will have to start a dialogue with our neighbors about what we intend to do.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Sunday night at around 10:30 Artie took out the trash and was surprised to find most of the food we put down gone. The last few days we had food left which we took to mean not all the cats were stopping by for a handout.

When he took a good look he noticed Charcoal Grey resting under the wicker chair. Brother was reclining on the wicker chair and the Norwegian Forest Cat was resting in the shadow of our air conditioner. Surprising no one ran away when he stepped on the porch. Even more surprising, the Norwegian Forest Cat did not bolt as usual.

Artie told me so I went out to see, talking to all three of them. They all stayed put and after a minute or two I came in. I'm really gratified by this turn of events. The class is in a few days. I'll have to contain my excitement and my natural inclination to turn the front porch into a home for them all until I complete the class. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012


It's the second day of the month again and Buddy is gone five months now. It's odd that I will attend the TNR class this week. Five months ago I would never have considered doing so.

We are getting closer to autumn, summer is winding down. The days are still hot but the nights are slowly lengthening and I remember when we took Buddy in. It was Thanksgiving Week 2001. The weather was terrible, rainy and damp. Buddy looked too thin, dirty and possibly sick. It was apparent that whomever he belonged to no longer cared for him. We saw him all hours of the day and night. I would find  him on my back porch at 5AM sitting in the halo of the security light, staring at my back door wanting to come in.

A far cry from the lazy summer days he spent with us in our back yard just hanging out while we gardened or relaxed. Artie would give him food as we did for all the strays but we knew Buddy belonged to someone - he very rarely ate preferring to just stay with us in companionable silence. He would come and go as he pleased and he was never around at night. Then fall was coming on and Buddy's situation had changed. We saw him all the time and he stayed for meals. 

By Thanksgiving week we knew if we didn't take Buddy in he wouldn't survive the coming winter. So we rescued him from a horrible end and ten years went by all too fast. I miss him terribly and though I'll be taking care of seven cats it won't be the same because none of them are Buddy. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012


We've been putting food out every evening but since we had 5 cats out front we haven't had that many since. The last 2 mornings there have been leftovers. The past 2 evenings only Charcoal Grey took up her spot on the wicker chair. Maybe some others came by but most of the food remained uneaten.

Cats generally like only what they had before and we're using a different brand of kibble so that might be part of the problem. I really don't know and I wonder what will happen when the cold weather sets in and we stop putting out wet food altogether?

Well, maybe the class will shed some light on eating habits. Until next week when I take the class and have my answers...