I’ve been weary. Oh so weary. Isn’t that a song? I can’t be sure because of my weariness. Brush my hair? Do I have to? Feed the animals? Can’t they miss a meal? Plain and simple, I’m about at my limit rustling up spare energy. In other words, I’m dog tired.
Right about now you might be thinking, quit feeling sorry for yourself, Janet. I’m busy also but you don’t see ME whining. Okay, so maybe you’re a whirlwind like my friend Sharon who never tires. Well good for you. And her. But not everything is about you and Sharon. So get over yourself already. This is MY blog and I’m trying to tell you how tired I am. Jeeeeez…
I’m so sorry. I have to apologize for being rude back there. I’m not myself when I’m weary. Now don’t get me wrong; it’s not like my crankiness means I’d have you killed just for a differing opinion. Not that I couldn’t. Have you killed, that is. After all, this is America and we have the First Amendment. We also have folks willing to bump you off for putting it into action.
So I recently relocated 4 young ferals as mousers to a property that on the surface seemed perfect. Still, I entertained little nagging doubts about the owner of the 700 acre ranch, winery and B&B. Yes, he said all the right things but was it because he thought it’s what I wanted to hear? I wondered, but ignored my hunch because the place seemed perfect for feral mousers. And it was. But HE surely wasn’t.
We acclimate cats for 3 weeks in cages before releasing them. But when Mr. Jackass admitted he let the cats out after 10 days, he confirmed my reservations. Still, he assured me they were fine, eating a lot, everything’s hunky-dory…blah, blah, blah. So yeah, I wanted to believe him.
A couple weeks later I returned to collect our relocation supplies. That’s when I saw the magnitude of ignoring my hunch. Basically, the cats were starving. Turns out he barely fed them in the erroneous belief they’d be better hunters (the opposite of what I instructed). However, nobody can tell this guy anything so I immediately formulated a plan to recover the cats, knowing he’d resist.
I received a call last week from Chris who has over 70 acres in the hills 10 miles from me. He and his wife are interested in getting feral cats as mousers for this, their second home with an upstart vineyard, enormous house, big red barn, a flourishing garden, a pool and pool house. In a word: the place is a dream. Yes, I’m aware that’s five words. But come on, it’s too incredible to warrant just one.
Anyway, the vineyard is isolated almost 3 miles off the main road, winding along seemingly endless pastureland. It was then that it occurred to me this could be a setup. I hadn’t told anyone where I was going and who knows what awaited at the end of that gravel road?
I received the most unusual and unexpected gift last week from someone I’ve never met. She knows me from the work I do with feral cats and is a friend of a friend. So why did she give me a gift? Be patient, I’m getting there…
Hold your horses
In this line of work, meaning TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return), I meet some interesting folks. Let’s just say not all of them particularly like cats. Some downright hate ’em. But then not everyone is perfect, right? Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying if you don’t like cats you’re a sociopath. But my guess is you’re probably close.
Anyway, my friend was telling this gift-giving person about my encounters with these as- yet-undiagnosed sociopaths. They’re the characters who not only make this work interesting, unpredictable and a little bit scary, but have taught me I should learn self defense. Like yesterday already. I’ve intended to take classes for about 10 years now but have I done it? Intended is the operative word there.
Take THAT you cat hater
So as if having 7 animals isn’t enough, I’m one of only a few people at the humane society willing to foster ringworm cats and kittens. Consequently, I often have a room or two filled with the little buggars. By buggars I mean the kittens, not ringworm. Personally I don’t see what the big deal is. It’s not an actual worm. That would be disgusting. No, it’s just a fungus, like athlete’s foot.
Not this kind of worm
Since ringworm is contagious to people and other animals, I have to keep these cats isolated. Luckily I have 4 bedrooms so I’m an instant ringworm B&B of sorts. Come little kitties, stay a while. Relax. Chill out while receiving weekly sulfur dippings and daily oral meds.
This is the life
At first I wore a smock and gloves when handling my 5 ringworm domestic kitten fosters but quickly tired of that. So now I hold them with abandon. To hell with ringworm!
So far so good. I’m rash free as of this writing. Just in case, I have a tube of Lotrimin waiting in the wings. I’m nothing if not prepared…
Smartly, I let humane society staff perform the particularly stinky sulfer dips. I have my limits you know. But I do give the kittens oral meds each morning along with meds for my aging Greyhound. And then there’s the feedings. With 12 stomachs to fill, I don’t get to eat and run anymore. I feed them, scoop cat and dog poop, give meds, grab a bite, then run. I’ve become good at organizing my mornings.
Stinky sulfur dips
Ringworm cats are unadoptable until they’re symptom free and getting them to that point takes weeks. But I don’t mind. Actually, ringworm is the easy part. That’s because I’m used to fostering feral kittens, not domestics. And believe me, there’s a world of difference. Continue reading