Sunday, February 22, 2015


One of mine, my Ceilidh

 Spotted kitten belly!
Miss Kisses will one day get her surgery then get adopted before she's grown.  The org won't take her because they're booked until, "sometime in March."  Of course, that was the story a couple of weeks ago.  Might very well be April now.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Truth vs. The News

Now, I tell people, "avoid news cameras.  Don't EVER to an interview.  Reporters get paid to twist the truth.  If it bleeds, it leads."

So here's the truth.

Fact 1 when we moved here, there were maaaaaybe 1 or 2 feral cats.  Didn't see them very often.  When we first moved here, we actually spoke to our neighbors.  Yeah, they were more than glad to tell us that when they saw stray cats, they shot them and threw the kittens to their dogs to murder.  Yup, moooooore than happy.  No qualms whatsoever.  No shame.  Not a fuck was given.  Had to go out and bury a feral left dead on our road by the neighbors.  They ran it over, killed it, and just left it there.  Probably so they could run it over a few more times during the week.  Yee haw.

And then, in the fullness of times, we saw the occasional kitten.  But only once or twice and usually never again.  

Neighbors, right?

But over the years, the numbers have been growing.  Not tons of ferals but at least 3 or 4 and seeing them regularly. Every once in a while we'll see a brand new feral but then never see it again.  I think they're just passing thru or not making it far from our yard.  

Neighbors again. 

Fact 2 we've been fostering for over a year now with the same organization.  We're friends with one of the workers.  She comes over for coffee, just to come over.  Kitten needs something?  She comes over and fixes it.  Revolution for street urchins with fleas and ear mites?  She comes right over.  Spouse has gone out with her to trap ferals around town.  She is the TNR goddess and we've talked about trying to trap the local ferals but never really got around to it.  It would be easier if we fed them but no way do I want them thinking humans are safe.  I don't feed them or encourage them in any way.  When I do see them, I stomp the ground and tell them to shoo.  Running from humans is safer for them.

Fact 3 we saw a feral in the front yard limping badly.  Back leg stiff and no weight being put on it.  Yeah, it's time to start TNR our local ferals.

Fact 4 we caught 4 total, 3 girls and 1 boy.  The 2 we kept seeing were actually 4 because there are 2 sets that look exactly alike!  Never caught Gimpy.  Never even saw Gimpy again.  Figured he/she couldn't get away in time and was dead somewhere.  All the cats we caught were young, probably about to start getting pregnant.  They had to have IV fluids during surgery because they were all small, underfed, and dehydrated.  As in, their mommas probably didn't live long enough to teach them anything and no one feeds them or looks after them whatsoever.

 "I fell for the old gushy food trick!"

"Oh put an arm in here.  Try to pet me.  I dare you!"

Fact 5 teenage girl and her friend came to my door.  Wanting to borrow the cage.  Hey, it's not my cage.  You can rent one from the local rescue group or you can go to Petsmart and buy yourself one.  She wanted to catch the, "cat with the broken leg."  Ah!  Gimpy was still alive!  I asked if they were back there by their house and they said no, up in the front end of the street.  Ok, I'll try to catch them again but no guarantees.  Ol' Gimpy must be pretty smart to not get caught all this time by me or anyone else.  Good for Gimpy!  I went out at dusk, best cat time according to my local expert, and set up the trap.  Same time, they drove by and said they caught Gimpy and another one and did I know of a no-kill shelter.  I told them to call Spay-n-Save in Longwood.  I thanked them.  Checked the cage later that night.  Didn't even catch Alcatraz, the little girl we've already caught and spayed and released.  She just keeps getting caught.  Either she's really dumb (falls for it every single time) or really smart (free gushy food!).   

Fact 6 Friend at SnS texted me a few days later (Yay!  They took the cats in to be fixed!).  They weigh less than 3 pounds and they're full of BBs.  Yup, someone's been shooting at them.  And friend wants to know how do you shoot a kitten multiple times?  Were they holding it down so it couldn't get away?  Were they cornered somewhere?  Was it a bunch of kids shooting the poor kittens?
Well, I can tell you how many teenage boys live at the end of my street who have fathers who like to toss live kittens to their dawgs to tear apart.

Those are the facts.  Now here's the news.

"neighborhood icon?"
"part of the community?"
 "helps trap the many neighborhood cats to spay or neuter them and releases them?"   

LOL, what?  You want to know how many cats are walking around with a clipped ear?  The 4 that we TNRed and that's it.  These guys don't live in MY neighborhood, that's a fact and wherever they are, I hope they really are TNRing, but it's sure not here.  And I didn't notice anyone jumping up to help pay for the 4 cats to be fixed either.  We paid for those ourselves.  Honestly, that was another reason we weren't out there catching feral cats around here.  Every one we catch will cost us money. SnS will do it for cheap but they don't do it for free.  Yes, I AM pissed that I have to pay the consequences of some asshole who dumped their unaltered cat once upon a time that had kittens who had kittens who had kittens and now we have too many feral cats running around.  I don't think I SHOULD have to pay for their mess but in real life, this is what has to be done.  Just one more reason to hate assholes. 

Kudos to the news for the publicity for SnS, that was decent of them.  Too bad they didn't come during business hours and show the kittens, maybe it would get them adopted.  I hear that the 2 little kitten girls are a little hissy but could be tamed pretty easily.  It would also have been nice if the reporter didn't take it into his head to change Phyllis's words.  She didn't ask for, "prayers," for the kittens, you dork, she asked for DONATIONS!  What the hell good are praaaaayers going to do?  Can you feed ferals with prayers?  Keep the lights on with prayers?  Pay the doc who does 100 surgeries a day, every day, with prayers?  Hell, people and businesses are constantly begging the the vet techs and volunteers to come catch ferals.  They are using their personal time, they aren't getting paid.  And who pays for these feral surgeries?  SnS will do it on donations.  On top of that, our friend collects bags of cans.  Soda cans, beer cans, cat food cans.  Any metal you can give her, she'll take.  Once she fills up her jeep, she drives across town to the recycling plant and sells it all for cash that pays for feral surgeries.  She's not on her knees praying someone else helps the kitties, I guarantee it. 

kitten physics

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Brewing the Perfect Cup of Tea?

Why, I've come to a surprising realization about modern trendy tea!  

You might have noticed how popular tea is lately.  Tea online, tea in the mall, tea is the new coffee, back when coffee was en vogue.  But I'm an old school herbalist.  When I say herbal tea, I'm thinking you get some hibiscus leaves or rose hips for zing (remember Red Zinger, back when it was good?) and flowers for color, maybe some dried lemon rind, or a hint of peppermint. Herbal tea was made from herbs.  Tea had tea leaves in it.

So I've been ordering tea online because where do you get good Earl Grey?  Well not around here, that's for sure.  But I noticed that some of my teas are...kinda fake tasting.  Specifically the Hazelnut vanilla.  But, silly me, I thought maybe they're using that fake vanilla flavoring?  Right?  Tea, right?

Now there's a tea place in the mall and I bought some and I've discovered...well, they're in lovely shades like fuchsia and the flavors are wonderful, but this is all fake!  I've got a couple that don't even actually have leaves of any kind in it!  It's of bark soaked in colorants and flavoroids!  And it's even sweetened! 

The modern tea is really just Kool-Aid for adults.  It's not tea.  The tea part is there to con you into feeling snooty and giving them the excuse to be charging exclusive prices because only exclusive people drink tea.  Pinky out!  It's not tea!  It's not tea!

You should have seen the people rushing in and out of that shop to get free samples!  You want to know something else?  Their free sample of green tea was bitter.  That right there is a major tea fail.  Anytime a tea place serves you bitter green tea, run.  Why?  Green tea is steeped at 175F.  Go with hotter water like for black teas or for coffee  (I'm looking at you, Starbucks)  and it's bitter.  Steep it too long and it's bitter.  You want to explain to me how a genuine tea place doesn't know about temps and steep times?  Because this is how tea is made.  It's the basics.

Tea Steeping Instructions

You ever get served bitter green tea at an Asian restaurant?  No, you don't.  Because they know what they're doing.  
FYI-if you're looking for REAL tea, with genuine tea leaves actually IN it, try an Asian market.  They still sell tea.
Lordy, going to the basement in the mall in Japan with the barrels and barrels of variations of green tea, THAT was heaven.  You could smell it as you came down the escalators and it's the entire basement level, one big open room, FULL of barrels.  Genuine big wooden barrels.  It was amazing!  You ever go to Japan and manage to stop by a mall, get to the basement.

You want to know how deep it's getting in the world of tea snobbery?  They claim that they can taste the difference between water boiled in a proper kettle versus water boiled in a microwave.  I'm totally not kidding!  How about never use a metal mesh ball for tea leaves because your tea will taste metallic?  Yup, that's a thing now.  Hey, doesn't matter that all the tea in the world has, for decades, been served using some form of metal mesh in some form or another.  Tea-snobs have special tea powers.  Sure they do.  Even if you have antique porcelain tea pots like I do with the holes built into the spigot, you pour the tea through a metal sieve over the cup to catch the tea leaves, or you better learn to read tea leaves like a boss to cover your faux pas.   

And, hey old-school tea drinkers, you know what's all the rage in Europe (yes, even Paris)?  Those electric kettles that you set the temp for whatever tea you're drinking.  Very handy if you don't have a cooking thermometer and a good memory to remember how long for each water temp for each kind of tea you have.  And I DO encourage you to try different teas, just be aware of what you're drinking. 

You'll notice Lipton isn't even mentioned?  Right.  Now, granted, when I was growing up, it used to have a flavor.  It did!  I swear!  Now, it pretty much just tastes like water.  Brown water.  Yum!  You want unflavored black tea, no bells and whistles, go to your local Asian market.  Discover what tea is suppose to taste like.  Change your life. 

I used to have a tea tree at our first house. Tea is a Camellia. Camellia sinensis .  Little plain white flowers.  I grew it as a novelty.  I also had a cinnamon tree. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

New Kittens

Eyes are just now changing from baby blue to their real color.

I've got a boy and a girl, so I named them Cupid and Valentina!

The day after we took them, we got another call needing a foster home for 3 more.  Poor kittens, not enough fosters for everyone.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pick of the Litter

This is the part I dread, when my foster kittens get adopted by people who shouldn't have them.  But I have no say.
Which is one of the reasons why I don't stick around for adoption day.  I mean, I've seen some kittens get adopted and when the kitten and human find each other and pick each other, it's really beautiful.  YOUR kitten, that you fostered and thought loved you, the one who hides in the back of the cage and hisses and growls at everyone who passes by, suddenly runs to the front, reaches out a paw and touches someone, purring, meowing, it's beautiful.  What would happen if this person wasn't in the market for a pet?  What if this person didn't come today?  But here they are, together at last.

Then there's last Saturday.  Churchill gets adopted within seconds, he's scooped up and gone.  Magellan, the sweetest boy, the pick of the litter, the one that runs out of the bathroom in the morning (if you want to sleep, you lock kittens in a room overnight.  Trust me on this), sees that it's you, runs back to YOU instead of freedom, and lifts his paw for you to pick him up.  I mean, seriously, how precious is THAT?
We noticed that his works were a little swollen since the surgery.  They called the vet, with a photo (kitten porn!!) and the vet said the incision looks fine, he's just playing too hard with his brother.  Try warm compresses and keep him calm.  Ok, problem solved, his brother is adopted.

So some dingleberry adopts Magellan.  But wait.  She demands that he go to the vet.  Good.  Every new pet owner should take their newly adopted pet to their vet.  I'm not sure I got them entirely dewormed, we didn't have them long enough for the 3rd treatment.

Oh no, she doesn't want to take him to HER vet, she wants the rescue group to look at him.  Ok, whatever, it's free and included.  I guess it's better than nothing.

Oh no, she doesn't want to take him.  She wants US to take him back for the week and WE take him to the vet.

The volunteers called me to come get him and I laughed and laughed.  Did she pay?  Oh, well you have 2 choices.  You tear up the adoption form and give her her money back and let that kitten get adopted by a sane person (which is what I would have done) or you tell her that he's HER kitten and if she wants me to take him for a week, she can pay my normal boarding and transport fee.

Right.  I have no idea how that shook out.  I just have this feeling that Magellan will come back bigger and older and less adoptable for rehoming.  She's not a good choice, she should have never been allowed to adopt a kitten!  If we didn't already have 4 of our own, I would have said, "nevermind, I'll keep him."

New kittens to arrive tonight.  Tabbys, I hear.  Professor Fuzzywinkle will be glad to see them.  He ADORES playing with kittens (he was raised with kittens of all sizes and played with so many kits when he was just a kit) and since the 2 left, he's been chasing his spinster older sisters.  And they don't appreciate his shenanigans.  Ok, Mei Mei does, but she likes to pretend that she hates it, while goading him into chasing her around the house.  Calia and Ceilidh threaten to cut him if he comes near them again and have been muttering about a future black and white rug if he doesn't stop. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pink Weights!

Ok, so for years, yup, YEARS, the weights have bothered me.  There's so much writing on the damn things and the 5s are the same size as the 10s.  I finally got fed up with hunting down the correct number.

Not just pink  but pink glitter.  Spouse is horrified but he hasn't worked out since the 80s.  MY gym, MY weights, MY choice.  

Random photo of me working out with, my hero, Anja Langer, back in the day.  Oh yes.