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On rescuing cats…

Or any other critter, for that matter.

I’ve been having some discussions recently about it with other people who also “do” rescue, either like I do it, by snagging cats who come to our doors and attempting to find them places to go, or by fostering and volunteering for organized rescue groups. There’s some points of common experience among us, and in questions we get asked by people, so I thought I would do Andrea’s Rules of Rescue just for the hell of it.

1) It’s hard. Sometimes, you will fail. Fosters get sick and die in your care, you fail to trap that last kitten, you have a foster that you cannot place and who does not fit in with your existing household, so you can’t offer the critter refuge. Your confidence will be shaken, your heart will get shattered. You have to be able to forgive yourself.

2) You can’t save them all. This is also a sub-point of #1 up there. You just can’t, and you have to know what your limits are in order to be fair to the critters who are already in your care. Fosters take time and money and effort, things which your pets also require, and since most of us are not independently wealthy, resources are limited. You only have so much time and money and energy you can pour into a rescue before you start short-changing the critters you already have at home, which is not fair to them in the least. You must know your limits, emotional and financial. If taking in a foster means you can’t provide for the critters already there, if it’s going to mean your dog misses needed vet care…don’t. You have an obligation to the beasts who depend on you.

3) You have to be able to let go. Every kitten and every puppy is adorable as hell, seriously. Every cat and every dog is charming. You will fall in love with every single one of your fosters at least a little bit, but since time and money are limited, every animal you keep is one less spot for a foster. Sometimes it’s hard to trust that you’re sending this critter to a good home; maybe they don’t do things exactly how you would. Whatever. Your home has limited spots where you can give adequate care, and there is always going to be another critter who needs you, so if you have a home for that foster where it will be loved, fed, and given good care, even if that family does the care differently than you would, send the critter on with your blessings.

4) It is easier to place kittens and puppies than cats and dogs. It is sad and mercenary, but you have a pretty narrow window of maximum cuteness in which finding a home will be much easier. For instance, I was pretty damn optimistic about placing Juniper. He’s little, he’s adorable, he loves his stuffymouse and he purrs a lot. He has a home lined up. Noodlehead, who is currently in quarantine in my bathroom, has a slightly bleaker outlook: she is a mildly cranky adult cat that is a very common, domestic breed according to my cat breeds list. Realistically she may never be placed, although I’ll try once I know her FIV/FeLV status. Luckily there is a place for her here, although keeping her may mean I have to cut down on rescue. But still: place ’em while they’re little.

5) The good: people will surprise you with their compassion and generosity. You will succeed in saving critters and finding them good and loving forever homes. Sometimes these good and loving homes will even drop you a note from time to time and you will get to see the tiny kitten you placed become a 25 pound muscly and good-natured monstrosity of a cat. Take heart from these victories, these little lives snatched back from the jaws of death.

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West Coast Kitty needs a place to go!

For those of you who have been looking at Juniper thinking “If only I did not live in California…” well, kitty needs a place to go. Long story short, her owners moved and left her with a relative. Said relative decided it would be just fine to take an indoor domesticated kitty and dump her at a horse farm, ignoring the fact that feral and semi-feral barn kitties have a whole pile of skills that indoor kitties have not developed, like not approaching strangers, not getting under horse hooves, and staying safe from dogs and coyotes.

I have Opinions on this sort of thing.

Anyway, if you have always wanted a snuggly purrbox kitty of your very own, in glossy black, get in touch with that one’s foster mom, yeah? Braxton Bragg says sleek glossy black snuggly kitties make the best pets.

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How nice of you to join us, or: Noodlehead continues feline tradition of being inconvenient.

Long-time gentle readers may recall that Noodlehead was the fourth adult cat I attempted to bring inside, the one who shook my confidence. I’d successfully brought in and placed three girls, all of whom were easy-peasy, so why would this stripey tabby and white girl be any different?


When I brought Noodlehead into the bathroom, she commenced to attempt to climb the walls to find her way out. I managed to get her toweled and get her back outside, where she regarded me with deep and unpleasant suspicion for the next two weeks before giving birth to a couple stillborn kittens. Sigh.

In the long months since that abortive attempt, though, Noodlehead has been more and more interested in the inside of the house, especially as the weather has gotten colder. She’s also gotten more and more sociable, hanging around while we did chickenstuff and loitering outside the fence to watch us play fetch with Zille and chase with the Dobermans. She’s demanded petting, she’s asked to be picked up and snuggled.

Tonight, she finally walked into the house on her own power, and is now installed in the bathroom with a comfy bed, some wet food, water, and a litter box. Of course, Juniper WAS occupying the bathroom, because Emmaline wants him dead. Juniper is now occupying our bedroom. This is going to cause entertainment at bedtime, as Tink and Roo are accustomed to occupying the bedroom and having the door closed may cause Drama. We’ll figure something out. But at this point, there is officially No Room At The Inn.

I suspect there is little chance of placing Noodlehead, but I may be wrong. She is charming as hell but very much wants things on HER terms, and she is fairly nondescript in looks. The world is full of nondescript tabby-and-white cats with attitude. It may be that we now have five cats. I’m kind of OK with that, although, y’know, if you look at the little stripey face on the right and think to yourself “Self, that is exactly the cat I have been searching for!” then hit me up, yeah? She is going to get vetted and spayed before she goes anywhere, though.

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More info on Juniper, World’s Most Laid-Back Kitten

Juniper went to the vet yesterday for his check up/initial vetting. I am pleased to say that he is FIV and FeLV negative, which clears him for a potential home with other cats! He is also now free of fleas and has been dewormed, as well as receiving his first FVCRP shot. He goes back on the 28th for the booster and we’ll schedule his neuter then, the vet felt that he was only 10 weeks old and thus too young to get his rabies vax or a quick neutering. He weighs about four pounds.

Thus cleared for interaction with the Usual Suspects, I brought him out to spend some time on the futon last night. He was Not Impressed with the dogs. In fact, faced with dogs he achieved such a phenomenal growl from his tiny frame that he established a three foot Canine Exclusion Zone around himself. My dogs are used to much larger cats than tiny Juniper, and were not about to poke their sensitive noses at a cat who was indicating so clearly that he would bite them off, even if he is tiny.

With cats he was much, much better. Roo sniffed him all over, established that he was not a snack, and then went about his business. Juniper did not react, except to politely touch noses. Aida jumped up, and they politely touched noses, and then she hissed in his face. He did not react. Aida was confused. They repeated everything, from nose-touch to hiss, and Juniper still didn’t react. Aida grumbled and went on her way. Emmaline took one look at him and said “Oh hell no I don’t do kittens” and retreated to watch him disapprovingly from the back of the Cat Chair. The only time Juniper showed any cat-oriented hostility was when Braxton Bragg snuck up behind him and patted his butt to see if he would do something interesting; that got a little growl that sent the dogs into whimpering panic.

Gentle reader, you have not lived until you have seen your 75 pound German Shedder and your 75 pound male Doberman reduced to whimpering and clinging to their Daddy because a 4 pound kitten growled, seriously.

Juniper will get more socialization time over the coming days, we’re hoping to work on the growling at dogs thing because, well, it’s too pathetic to see the dogs like that. But he’s doing quite well, and I think we’re on track to have him in a new home come January!

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Juniper: world’s most laid-back kitten.

Someone seriously needs this kitten, for reals. Before I get to the pics, here is the Official Kitten-Pimping Information:
Juniper (named for Juniperus virginiana, the Virginia cedar tree) goes to the vet on Tuesday, where he will get a check-up, tested for FIV and FeLV, a guess at his age, and then his rabies/distemper vax. We will then schedule his neutering! After neutering, he will be available to a good home, with the following provisos:

1) He always has a place here. If the new owner cannot keep him for any reason, I will not ask questions, I will not judge, I will not grouse on my blog. I will just come get the cat and bring him back to the Manor.

2) I will drive up to four hours from Fredericksburg, VA to put him in a new home. This covers most of the state of Virginia, a good chunk of Maryland, a good chunk of West Virginia, and even goes as far as Gettysburg, PA (I take the back roads to avoid I-95).

3) He must be an indoor kitty. Juniper has lived the outdoor life and now deserves to be safe in a climate-controlled environment.

4) No declawing. It’s mean. Just no.

5) Yes, it is December. Yes, he is adorable. But you know what? Surprise kittens make crap Christmas gifts, y’all. Therefore I will need to be in contact with the actual person with whom young master Juniper will be living. I do not care how well you know your friend/roomie/spouse/partner/parent/sibling/dentist. Juniper is not a Christmas present.

6) As of right now I have no idea how he does with other critters, because he’s still in quarantine. Look for more info after his check-up and FIV/FeLV testing!

And now…ON TO THE KITTEN PICTURES! Because that’s what you wanted anyway, right? Proof that Juniper is the World’s Most Laid Back Kitten.

Juniper, a black and white kitten, lays upside down on the hands and forearms of a woman.  His eyes are open and looking at something off camera.  He is not panicking, but is totally relaxed.  If there were a soundtrack, you would hear purr.  It is the most adorable thing ever.

Juniper, still on his back, looks up at the woman holding him, his adorable leetle white paws spread wide as if he is telling her he caught a fish and it was THIS BIG.

Juniper, STILL on his back, has stretched his front paws out in what would be a creditable SUPER KITTEN pose if he were not, y'know, upside down and purring.

How cute is that, seriously? Just LOOK at this little fella. Someone out there needs this kitten to make their life complete, I know it. All we have to do now is get the word out! If you can’t take him, can you post him up on Twitter, your blog, Facebook, anywhere?

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Special Bonus Post: KITTENS!

These are not my kittens, mind you. But I cannot tell you how important it is to get the word out! Not one of the three boys I just placed went to someone who was reading here at the time. The shortest link was one person between me and a kitten home; the longest I can verify was three freakin people. Only one of them knew me, the other two just knew that kittens needed homes. Three people between Badger and his forever home, and what if any one of them had neglected to pass on the link? I’d have five cats, that’s what.

Here you go. Four formerly feral felines, in northern California. The foster home says “I’m willing to deliver the kittens to a new home anywhere in the Bay Area as well as much of Northern California and parts of the Central Valley. Please link, share, repost.”

So maybe you’re nowhere near the kittens, but if you can get the word out, then please do. You might be the one person between a kitten and a new home.

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Fundraising for Manor Cats

I have tried really hard for it not to come to this, because I don’t think it’s really fair to ask other people to fund my lifestyle as a crazy cat lady. But I’ve got four foster cats at the moment and three heavily pregnant girls outside, and there is just not enough money in my personal account to do everything that needs to be done for everyone, specially since I really need to get pet insurance for cats while they stay with me.

So below the cut are ninethree silk scarves, two with imperfections. Leave a comment to say which one you’re claiming, and I’ll get in touch so we can do the financials, or if you’d like to use Paypal you can click over to the Manor Cats page and send the money that way AFTER YOU COMMENT TO CLAIM YOUR SCARF. I do not wish to sell any scarves twice! I’ve listed a minimum price for each. The scarves come from a house that contains one smoker, seven cats, and three dogs. While I will wash them immediately before packing them up to go out, if you are allergic to smoke, cats, or dogs, PLEASE BE CAUTIOUS. Also the washing, drying, and folding means that they will go out to you substantially less wrinkled than they are in the pics. I have both Eucalan in regular and lavender scents, and a scent-free detergent, so please specify what you’d like me to use to clean your scarf before it goes out!

If you don’t wish to buy, but do wish to help, there is a button here on the Manor Cats page.

Continue reading Fundraising for Manor Cats

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Kittens! Kittens! Kittens!

Here’s the deal: in 2 weeks, these guys will be old enough to get neutered. They need homes after that! They need homes really badly, because I do not want seven cats. So here’s adorable pictures and little bio blurbs, and if you want a kitten then BOY have I got a deal for you, because these guys will come with rabies/distemper vax and already fixed! They are FIV/FeLV negative and have been freshly dewormed, and are free of fleas and ticks. They are practically plug and play kittens, just bring them home, acclimate them, and enjoy.

If you cannot take a kitten yourself, can you pass this link around? I will drive up to 200 miles from Fredericksburg, Virginia to deliver a kitten, or to meet up with you and hand off your kitten. All kittens have right of return to the Manor of Mixed Blessings, even if it is 10 years from now. No-risk, plug and play kittens! The contact form is right here. If you’re interested in a kitten, or know someone who is interested in a kitten, it’s a great way to get in touch with me so that we can match kittens with people who need them!

ASTUTE — TAKEN, YAY! New Name: Emmett
Astute, a small grey and white kitten with a mostly white face, tabby stripes on his grey bits, and ears with the slightest charming touch of back curve, looks up at the camera with enormous kitten eyes.  His mouth is slightly open, as he was talking when the pic was taken.
Just look at this little dude. He is the cutest thing since SLICED BREAD, which is pretty damned cute. He looks just like his Mama Emmaline, except she has black tabby stripes whereas his are grey. He purrs as soon as I walk in the room, and then if I touch him, he falls over and purrs harder. If you don’t pet him fast enough upon entry, he climbs your leg into your lap, then falls over and purrs some more. He loves to give kisses. And as if his native charm is not enough, he is taking lessons in being adorable from his Uncle Roo:
Astute, on the left, looks earnestly into the face of Uncle Roo, an orange and white Cornish Rex.  Roo appears to be imparting deep secrets as the kitten listens attentively.

Astute prefers that dogs keep to themselves, but if the dog isn’t looking at him, he’d like to investigate it. He adores other cats and it hurts his tender feelings when they hiss at him for trying to play. But he really, really loves people beyond words. You would not believe this kitten was feral up until two weeks ago, seriously.

Intrepid, a tabby and white kitten with long hair and a white nose, stares into the camera in a very serious fashion from very close range.  He has a remarkable amount of whiskers which are luxuriously long, and also ear tufts.
Intrepid are srs kitten. He actively seeks out my company, rubs up on my legs without climbing them, purrs as soon as you touch him, and is the bravest and most exploratory of the lot, which makes trying to take a bath sort of interesting. He is very intrigued by the dogs, and kinda likes Zille as long as she keeps her tongue to herself. He adores the little plastic jingly balls beyond words, and can often be found trying to kill one. He loves them best when someone will play with them with him, so he’d LOVE a home where the thumb monkeys will sit and roll his ball to him when it gets away, or maybe involve a dangly toy. He is now totally comfortable with being brushed with a soft brush, and in fact it makes him purr harder. Looks-wise, he has an almost Bengal coat pattern on his long hair that is incredibly difficult to photograph. He is going to grow up to be a very, very handsome cat! This picture does not do him justice:
Intrepid, half-crouched, shows off his exotic stripey-spotty pattern, which is black on a sort of bronzey background.

A dark tabby, black stripes on a deep brown background, with long hair and ridiculously adorable white toes in front, lounges on a bathroom rug that is definitely suffering the effects of kittens.
Badger is the most recent capture, but after a week he has totally given up on the hissing thing and is even starting to be purry! By the time these guys are ready to go, I expect him to be reasonably friendly to humans, but what he really wants is another cat he can hang out with. Another good lookin kitten, I am just starting to introduce him to the soft brush, and he says it’s pretty OK, but what he really enjoys from people is long, slow strokes from his head to his butt, preferably with both hands so there is no gap in the petting. He will sit in your lap if you ask him to, but definitely prefers to approach you at his own speed, and sometimes still finds house life alarming. He is intrigued by dogs, but prefers them not to get too close, if allowed to approach on his own time I expect he would get pretty relaxed around them, as long as the dogs in question were relaxed about kittens.

EDIT, Sunday 25 July: Badger officially snuggled with me today of his own volition. And not just any snuggling, he laid on his back in the crook of my arm and asked me to tickle his fat stripey tummy. I think he is Officially Tamed. Take him home today!

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Well that didn’t go so well.

Astute’s potential family backed out, saying they had “decided not to pursue a kitten at this time.” Fair enough, but now I’m back to trying to place three kittens. Sigh. My mission this weekend is to get most excellent and adorable pictures of them, and possibly organize a fundraising sale from the many crafty things I have lying around the house (I have a million hobbies) because I still can’t get the low cost spay/neuter clinic to call me back. It would be $40 each to get the Three Musketeers neutered there, whereas it will be $155 each at my for-profit vet.

Which is still cheap, as pediatric surgeries go, but three of them at once? Ow.

Meanwhile, just when we thought the immigration process was coming to an end, it turns out we are actually just back to more waiting, and it may be as much as four more months. Ow.

Things that are going well: Emmaline is starting to explore the house, which would be easier on everyone if the dogs were not fascinated by the brand new kitty, but is going nicely just the same. Badger is now 0% hissy, 25% purry, whereas Intrepid is at 100% purry and solicits human attention, and Astute is at about 200% purry — he starts up as soon as I walk in the room. So that’s all right. Now I just need to find them homes to go to after they’re neutered and vax’d.

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Sunny days chasing the clouds away…

Finally, we had a day with no thunderstorms yesterday! Yay!

Badger is purring for me consistently, and approaching me although not as much of an attention hog as his brothers. The vet says they can get rabies/distemper vax in 2 weeks, and neutered at the same time. Huzzah!

Emmaline discovered the bed today and spent most of her day lounging on it. Tonight, she is in Roo’s room. She continues to adjust well to indoor life, and had a nice meeting with Roo today.

No new immigration news, dammit. Tomorrow morning I’m calling the London Embassy to find out what’s going on. Still no sign of Dreadnought. Astute’s home may have fallen through, I haven’t heard from them in days. Sigh. I remain hopeful for the Three Musketeers, though!