Friday, December 18, 2009

Polka Dot, Moonbeam and Lollipop

I named them Polka Dot, Moonbeam and Lollipop. The names fit them from the very beginning, even though I could barely see them through the towel covered traps. They made no sound, no protest that morning as I loaded them up in my truck to take them to a new life; a life with food, shelter and if they wanted, human companionship. I had no information yet as to how old they were or if they were truly feral, or just lost or abandoned cats. All I knew was that they had been rescued from a hoarder by the Friends of Ferals of Fort Collins, Colorado who had discovered them and I was taking them to my barn. They could not go back to the cruel conditions they had been in. The day before they had had their surgeries, shots, and ears clipped to show they had been spayed or neutered as well as medications if needed. They had spent the night in recovery. They were terrified and probably in pain.
Even though I had recently volunteered for the Fort Collins Cat Rescue to help at the shelter with the intent to get involved later with the TNR program, this was an emergency. There were more than 20 cats and kittens that could not go back.
I had not had time to get a place ready for them and they would have to stay in their traps until I could release them into the small storage room in the barn where they would initially need to go. But I reminded myself as I contemplated the task that whatever I could do was much better than where they had come from. That room had morphed into a temporary storage for my daughters stuff, including an easy chair and footstool that had mostly been shredded by her two dogs, antifreeze, and all kinds of boxes labeled with kitchen, toys and misc., tossed into the small room every which way. It looked as if nothing else could fit inside. I knew I had to clear the piles enough to remove the anti-freeze and gasoline and make sure there was no poison.
When I unloaded the three traps from the truck and brought them into the barn I felt like a new mom without a clue about what to do to help these scared creatures. By that time the traps were smelly with old food, no litter and dirty rags and I wanted to get the cats out. But I didn’t know how aggressive they might be or if they would try to scratch me or run. So I sat on the arm of the old chair and watched them for a while. No, they were frozen in their places. They had not moved.
So I opened the doors to the traps and removed the towels that had given them a little comfort. It looked like two of them could have been siblings. Polka Dot is a long haired black and white “Sylvester” kitty with a white apron and three white dots on her black nose. She somehow escaped getting her ear clipped. Moonbeam was black and white also, but with short fur and a stocky build and he did have a clipped ear. I figured out later that he was a male. He also had a weird looking eye. It was almost like there was nothing there. I could see that it was not swollen or leaking and he did seem to be blinking. This would go on top of the list of things to ask the vet about. And Lollipop was a Calico with a lot of white and large round ‘lollipop’ black or brown patches. Her ear was clipped and still had blood on it. She looked pretty banged up. She sat with her front feet curled under her. She had not moved from that position but watched every move I made. So with a couple of dishes of water, some canned food along with a dish of dry food I left them to hide and explore the still crowded room. There were lots of places to hide, they had food and water and each other and they were safe. It was a start.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Winter Feeding

December 2008

I headed toward the barn as the thin morning light poised momentarily on the barn, the riding arena, the sandbox with its well worn toys, and the pasture beyond as if anticipating the new kind of flurries soon to arrive. It felt like more sunlight would soon come. Molli, Graci and Ruthy, our paying tenants nickered, knowing breakfast was soon to be served. Fort Collins got a 3 or 4 inch snowfall overnight. The snow that had landed on their backs from the day before had melted and dried. Good, they had stayed inside their stalls for most of the night. I knew they were fine but as with my kids, worry for their well being had become a habit.
The farm kittens, Taffy, all orange furry ball-of-yarn and Cookie, the pixie faced ferret look-alike followed me to the barn. They were previously barn kittens until I had surreptiously brought them in at night so often that as soon as I began to bring the horses in from the pasture in the evening they hung around and followed me back to the house, insisting on a warm bed and a couple of dogs to tease.
Snow was still an unfamiliar experience for them and they held their tails high as they pranced through the snow leaving small kitten footprints on the path to the barn.
Three of our grandkids, 3 year old twin boys and their 1 1/2 year old sister would be arriving soon for their Saturday morning pancakes, a specialty served up by their ‘Bumpa’. I could smell the bacon enticing me to finish barn chores so I could join them.