Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Chosen Ones

The older couple next door "have a cat".  The reason that  I put this in quotations is that they don't consider it to be "their" cat....and I'm quite bugged by this.  Let me explain...

According to the elderly neighbors, a cat showed up one day in their yard.  At some point in time they decided to start feeding it and giving it water on their back porch.  This was over a year ago.  They still insist it is "not their cat" and refuse to name her anything more than "Kitty-kitty".

Kitty-Kitty

Being a supporter of TNR, I very strongly insisted that she take this cat in to be fixed.  Strangely enough, the older woman complied and it turns out that Kitty-Kitty was already fixed!  She had been "someone's cat" before, but had become a stray for some reason.  We could take a guess and say she was scared by humans, as her flight reflex is HUGE around feet and brooms.  Her startle reflex at unexpected noises around humans will send her fleeing. So the fact that she trusts these elderly people is big.

And that, perhaps, is the reason why I take it to heart that they refuse to acknowledge her as an important part of their daily lives.  Kitty-kitty follows them around the yard as they putter and tinker like retired folks living in a rural area do.  She's very interested in what they're doing, is very vocal around them, but yet, she's not "theirs".  They leave food and water out, but don't want to feel responsible if she goes missing because of coyotes.  They want the attention, but not the responsibility.  And that makes me sad.

This couple leaves for the desert for 3-6 weeks at a time.  In their absence, I am Kitty-kitty's feeder.  That's all I'm supposed to be, but for me, it's not enough.  I visit with her, sitting on the stoop, making her feel important and valued with words, pets and body language.  I work with her so that I will be able to pick her up in case of an emergency.  When the couple is home, I still bring "treats" to the fence for her every night. So she knows she matters.

why do I do this?  Because I believe that stray cats choose their humans, hoping for the best....hoping that they can be an integral part of the pack....and I think everyone that is chosen by a stray should be HUGELY flattered that they were chosen.  Miss Ivy chose me when she was 10 months old and pregnant.  That was 12 years ago, and still, to this day, I feel honored that I was deemed worthy by this creature who had a choice to leave if she wanted....but she stays.

You know, maybe I'm thinking of this backward.... Kitty-Kitty's humans may not want to believe that she is "their" cat....and that may be true....

But perhaps, "these humans" are HERS..... and THAT is what matters.

Has a stray every "chosen" you?? I'd love to hear more in the comments section below!

Monday, December 30, 2013

ReVamp ReBuild ReImagine ReTurn to CatHairEverywhere

Our Founding Feline, TeaTea (1990 - 2009)

It is as official as new years resolutions can get. A promise to make more posts, more photos, more thoughts. To post survival skills in a cat-driven home. To let others learn from our medical struggles with Squeebert. To laugh at the absurdity of all that is feline.  Will you join us?  I certainly hope so! 

With kind and joyful wishes for the new year,

Miss Ivy, Pooter, Beastley, Squeebert, a few ferals, and Cindy


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Collar Me Confused (or What Collar is Really Safest for your Cat?)



A funny thing happened to me when viewing a fellow blogger's post on FABULOUS collars available in the UK for kitties.....I began to doubt my choice of collar for my outdoor kitties. Since they were young (that'd be 10 years ago!) I've had them in elastic release collars.  It made sense to me -  they could pull out of the collar backwards and they'd always have the ability to free themselves.  I also would wait til the elastic was threadbare before replacing it, adding to the safety with easy-breakage.  I'd purchased "safety release" (the kind with the plastic pronged release mechanism) collars for my 2 indoor cats when they were young, but it seemed to take too much pressure to release the collar.. it made me nervous. (Indoor kitties are 11 lbs and 9 lbs) I never put collars on them at all....well, I tried several times and we had conniptions extraordinaire, complete with Cirque du Soliel contortions and acrobatics, so since everyone (including outdoor kitties) is microchipped, I gave up.

We don't need no stinkin' collars!!

So here I was with the words "Google cat elastic collar injury" from the blog review stuck in my head.  Had I made the right choice 10 years ago or had I just been lucky?  Where should I go to find out which type of collar is safest?  Yep...the cat boards, where the Raw Diet Fanatics and the Holistic Banshees and the ignorant cat folk collide via cyberspace.  These folks (and I'm included in this!) have really strong opinions about EVERYTHING cat - from ultimate cat litter to colloidal silver (?) to diet.  They seem to have HOARDS of knowledge of everything feline (even though it often contradicts) So I asked these opinionated folks: "What type of collar do you use on your cats: elastic or safety and why did you choose that type?" 


(enter sound of crickets here)


 Not ONE response.  I tried another board (behavior issues).... nothing.  Now these are normally folks  that offend each other with their strong beliefs about right/wrong every day!  Why had they suddenly gone silent??  Is it that no-one knows the answer and we all have fears about making the "wrong choice" in this matter?   So I had to go it alone....

Safety or Quick Release Collar

I went to pet stores and twisted and pulled dozens of safety release collars....then, much to the dismay of Pooter and Ivy, came home and pulled on their elastic safety collars...and pondered and pondered and pondered.  Here is what I came up with:


a) Although an elastic safety collar will allow a cat to back out of a situation where the collar is stuck, a safety collar will allow a cat to either go back OR forward when the collar is stuck.


b) Safety release collars have different levels of "pull" needed to get the collar to breakaway.  This can vary by brand, but also just simply between collars!


c) There are safety release collars that are "adjustable" to the weight of your kitty. I found this type on Amazon.com where I also found they had mixed reviews.


d)  For outdoor kitties they make reflective collars, but 3M reflective collars are twice as reflective as the "regular" ones. Again, I found this type on Amazon.com.


e) To my mortification, they still sell collars with no safety release at all, and people are still buying them.


f) If you go to your local Petco, you'll shell out $7-$10 per collar.  If you shop online, you can find the same collars for $5.

g) Tags.... if you want small....like CAT small... you're going to pay. Tags in general run about $7 each, but for tiny tags it's a solid $10 each.
Pooter in his new collar

So I switched Pooter and Ivy's collars to "safety" collars, with some trepidation.  The next evening, Ivy came back without her collar.  Great.  $15 in the hole already in this experiment, BUT it did it's job!  My anxiety about my outdoor cats' safety has officially been lowered.  It's been 2 months now, and no other collars have been lost, but from Ivy's first day mystery experience, I know they work!  And if anyone has any ideas how to get extraordinarily opinionated kitties to accept collars, I'd love to hear it!