Tuesday, January 28, 2014


The next eye surgery follow-up visit took place yesterday afternoon. By early afternoon the temperature was a balmy 40 degrees (or thereabouts). Late afternoon when Annie and I ventured forth the temperature had dropped into the 20s.

Bundled into her fleece coat she eagerly awaited the radio car then spent the entire trip sniffing the floor and seat of the vehicle or looking out the window and whining. More whining and excitement ensued when we arrived to a waiting room with three other canines, their human companions and the veterinary staff.

Our visit went very well. Annie is progressing nicely. The doctor was happy to learn Annie no longer needs the Elizabethan Collar because the rubbing and pawing of her eye has stopped. She still has some inflammation however but the doctor stopped one of the eye drops so now we are down to one type of eye drop three times a day with another follow-up visit scheduled four weeks from now.

It's been four months since Annie saw her Oncologist so our next time in will be a 'double header'; visits with the Ophthalmologist and the Oncologist. Until then I'm keeping my fingers crossed Annie's four-month oncology checkup will show she's still cancer-free.

Happy to be eCollar free!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Saturday afternoon and it is snowing again. Between the snow, Arctic temperatures and the day's runoff freezing into endless sheets of ice, it's been a miserable three days.

The uncharacteristic (for New York) temperatures were too much for Annie's paws within five minutes she was limping. Her walk consisted of less than ten minutes outside to, in the words of Elvis "take care of business". Once in we wiped her paws with a warm wet cloth then toweled each one dry.

My current project is fixing her fleece coat to prevent her from removing it. Yes, Annie quite happily came in sans coat which I found in a snowy heap on my back porch. Thinking the problem was the old Velcro being worn out I replaced it but made the waistband too snug and Annie removed the coat. Back to the sewing machine to move the Velcro; now we had a perfect fit. Annie came in with the coat trailing over her butt. It took a few days to figure out how she did it but rubbing herself against the side of the house pulls the Velcro open. I'm hoping a few hook and eye closures strategically placed will prevent that from happening again.

After the frozen paw incident, I spent time on YouTube viewing videos on how to make dog booties. You can guess what my next project after the coat will be.

Annie smelling the snow.

Annie & coat looking for our feral colony members.

A peaceful moment.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


The snow storm passed and the day was spent digging out. Porch Guy came running as soon as our front door opened. A meal and some fresh water were eagerly anticipated along with a bit of company. Once he had his fill of food and drink, Porch remained on our door step sunning himself. After awhile he quietly slipped away.

We cleared the porch, steps and sidewalk of snow. Late afternoon and Porch showed up again looking for another meal. Artie took care of him, spending time with Porch while he ate. Again he picked a spot out front, grabbed a bit of sun then disappeared again.

His home base is definitely the shelters, food dishes, water dishes and the door step of my front porch. We're happy Porch Guy's making our property his home.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Brooklyn woke up to snow falling softly and silently like some moving picture post card. All the weather reports yesterday were predicting this for later in the day but the snow had other ideas. I looked out the window noting how pristine the snow-covered front porch looked.

An hour later I checked again. There were two sets of paw prints coming up the steps and across the porch directly to my front door. A quick look out the glass panels framing our front door confirmed both food dishes were empty and the water dishes were frozen. A lone set of paw prints went directly from the front door to one of the shelters.

I quickly filled a cup of food to fill the food dishes. No sooner did I open the door but a head popped out. Instant recognition on both our parts and a feline body came running in my direction. It was Porch Guy! Missing in action for more than a week, I've become somewhat accustomed to not seeing him every day since he operates on a schedule I haven't figured out yet.

He was very hungry. Not waiting for me to finish poring the food instead chowing down as I continued to fill the bowl. Artie's been very ill - congested and practically voiceless but I let him know Porch Guy was around so he could look out the window and see him. He warmed some water so Porch could drink as soon as he finished his meal. I put out the remaining food and the water then came in.

When I checked fifteen minutes later, Porch was gone, a second set of paw prints going to the shelter. I know he had his food and water then settled in to weather the storm.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


My first good read of 2014 is A Street Cat Named Bob And How He Saved My Life by James Bowen. The photography book, as much as I enjoyed it, doesn't qualify as a 'good read' since there isn't much to read only the brief captions under the pictures.

Most likely I'm the only person on the planet who hasn't read about Bob (that's not true Artie hasn't read the book yet). Don't pass this one up. Go to my Good Reads page for a brief write-up.

Friday, January 17, 2014


OK I'll admit that New York can get pretty wild at times, hell, most times but lately it's getting downright ridiculous. Once I started caring for my feral colony I began to pay more attention to the wildlife coexisting with us in our Brooklyn neighborhood.

Personal sightings of opossums and raccoons happen occasionally but the wee hours of the morning when I discovered a raccoon on my front doorstep was nature coming too close for comfort. Rocky Raccoon was thrilled to see us and you could just see from the expression on his face he was all ready to accept the open door invitation by strolling right in. That wasn't happening - we shut the door fast deciding if we ever again forget to put out the garbage the night before pickup we'd have to wait until the next pickup date. Our sanitation guys come between 5 and 6 AM a time when raccoons are winding up their evenings for the trek back to Green-Wood Cemetery.

That incident got me thinking about what other wildlife beyond feral cats, numerous birds, garden-variety squirrels and rodents New Yorkers share their space with. Besides possums and raccoons, Green-Wood boasts groundhogs. This Artie and I know for a fact having seen the little guys sitting by or peeking out of their burrows during our many walks through the cemetery.

Coyotes have been sighted in the Bronx and the newest sighting - skunks in Central Park. Any number of dogs can attest to the validity of this statement; humans as well. It seems the little guys are spraying pooches that get too close; some humans have smelt their presence without experiencing a run-in.  In any event, the skunks made the news yesterday and today. Apparently it's a bit of a migratory thing. I hope they don't decide the accommodations in Manhattan aren't to their liking and move to the outer boroughs - we have enough diversity as it is. 

There goes the neighborhood!  Photo from the West Side Rag

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Our daily life is getting back to normal. Annie's hardly squinting at all now or pawing at her eye. The Elizabethan Collar has been relegated to back porch wear since Annie likes nothing better than to stick her head between the spokes of our wrought iron fence and bedtime since I cannot watch her while we're sleeping. 

I called the doctor to give him an update as he requested. His assistant went over Annie's progress with me and she was extremely happy with what we told her. Everyone agreed Artie and I should continue to observe her until her next follow-up appointment in two weeks' time.

Artie and I are thrilled with how Annie's coming along. No Elizabethan Collar needed except at bedtime and on the back porch - bliss! And to see Annie's tail wagging again, nothing can compare to the happiness we feel with our little girl's happiness. Her very improved vision is the icing on the cake.

Soon  she won't be wearing that eCollar & I'll get the bed to myself.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


It is the beginning of a new year and I'm sure everyone's thoughts turn to saving money. Last year I did mention tackling this subject soon. While straightening up my pet cupboard prior to assessing what food I needed for Annie and Orphée, I decided to take stock of their medicines, supplements, etc. when I came across a tube of Laxatone gel for the elimination and prevention of hairballs.

Don't misunderstand me here, I'm not saying this isn't a good product - it certainly does the job. After putting it in Orphée's food for awhile he did bring up a good-sized hairball that had produced a whole lot of unproductive hacking and coughing before using Laxatone.

Will I buy this product in the future? The answer to that question is no. Why you ask?  The Laxatone cost me $11.00 for a 4.25 oz (120.5 g) tube. If I keep Orphée on a regular schedule of brushing to eliminate excess hair and include olive oil in his meals I will effectively fight hairballs without the extra cost.

The Laxatone contains White petrolatum USP, light mineral oil NF, corn and malt syrup, soybean oil, molasses and a bunch of other ingredients and needs to be picked up at the vet's office. At the moment you can find it on Amazon for $6.05 that's quite a difference.

So what am I saying here?  It's simple if you need to purchase this product and are very careful shopping online you can purchase it there. Uncomfortable purchasing from online sources, buy it at the vet or go the simpler route of purchasing a holistic vet book (or check one out of your local library) then pick an appropriate oil (olive, soybean, whatever) figure out an appropriate amount for your cat and go from there. Better yet you can determine what store-bought oil your veterinarian recommends by discussing it with him (or her).

Remember there are generally multiple means to an end so do your best to find the most cost-effective way to get there.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Just before Mother Nature surprised us with snow, incredibly low temperatures and arctic winds I was surprised to glance outside and find a cat I'd never seen before enjoying the food I'd placed outside.

A snow white cat with light grey markings resembling eyebrows, I'm guessing is a female because it's quite small but definitely an adult.

I've not seen her for the past few days but I will continue to keep a look out for her.

An early dinner.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Annie's itching, blinking and squinting never completely went away.  Since New Year's Eve it seemed as soon as we thought the itching, blinking and squinting had ended it would happen again. We started the process of taking off the Elizabethan Collar but after a period of time Annie would start pawing at her eye sometimes so violently it was becoming a concern for us.

Add to this scenario the weather which dumped about 6 inches of snow on Brooklyn before dropping the temperature to single digits with a finishing blast of arctic air making the wind chill sub zero preventing us from getting Annie to the doctor for several days.

Given all the evidence along with good results from her exam, the doctor agreed Annie's issues could stem from sensitivity to her eye drops.  We discussed her symptoms and eliminated one medicated eye drop substituting another. The remaining eye drop was reduced to once a day and the Blink was stopped altogether.

There was immediate and almost complete improvement. The squinting is minimal; the irritation is noticeably less and the pawing is almost non-existent. Artie and I are hopeful we can start lessening her time spent wearing the Elizabethan Collar and we're keeping our fingers crossed the road to recovery will be straight and smooth from now on.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


A package arrived in the mail the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve. Totally unexpected and a complete surprise, it contained a hardcover book of dog photos. Entitled Black & White Dogs, edited by J.C. Suarès and published by Collins Publishers in 1992, our human cousins found it in an antique store they visited the Friday after Thanksgiving. Inside was a heartfelt note but not one word from Lucky, Athena or Midnight. 

It's a terrific book filled with wonderful photos of famous and everyday people and their dogs. There's a shot of Wegman's Fay Ray wearing boots, a photo of FDR and Falla riding in a car and Alfred Hitchcock having a cup of tea while reading the newspaper with his dog Sarah. My favorite shot is of a little child playing the violin to an adoring audience of two dachshunds and a black cat.

Thank you both for a really fun book to add to our collection.

Our surprise gift.

Friday, January 3, 2014


Boy, there's plenty of it. Only three days into the new year and New York was hit with one whopper of a snowstorm. It started the evening of January second. With each successive weather report I became more concerned for my outside cats since we hadn't gotten around to putting out the additional shelter I'd picked up awhile back.

I prepared the inside making sure there was enough straw for comfort while Artie trimmed the plastic around the doorway folding it inside and taping it down with heavy duty tape. He did this with the original shelter and it worked great. We made sure the drainage holes were big enough for water to drip out. Next I located a clear piece of heavy-duty plastic Artie cut strips to cover the doorway for added warmth. Finally the two of us each located a board to put under the shelter keeping it off the ground. Artie placed the shelter opposite the original one on our front porch.

Both of us returned to taking care of household chores when Artie went to the front hall with a bag of rock salt he just purchased. There was Porch Guy checking out the dishes looking for a meal while the snow fell quite steadily. Artie rushed in for a can of food and for the snow covered Porch Guy came into the front hall for a second time to have his evening meal. After eating half, he became wary deciding he was better off outside. He retreated to the doorstep refusing to come in to finish his food. We gave up, placing the half eaten meal on the doorstep under the awning so Porch could finish the meal safe from the steady snowfall. We shut the door and came in. Sometime later, Artie checked but he was gone. 

However an interesting thing happened - Porch Guy always walks up our front steps, has his meal then walks down the steps to cross the street disappearing under cars or running into a driveway. This time the snow showed one set of paw prints coming up the stairs to the front door and one set going from the front door to the new shelter. The rest of the snow was pristine.

I'm sure Porch Guy weathered the storm in the new shelter.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


It's been a quiet day.  We're all taking advantage of good food, good company and good conversation in addition to the pats, licks, and cuddles we're sharing with our furry ones.

Tomorrow it's back to our daily routines. Until then Happy New Year.  May 2014 be a great year for us all!

courtesy of Webweaver