Thursday, February 26, 2004


Max temp: 36 degrees F
Min temp: 26 degrees F

I spent an hour yesterday afternoon lying on the cold gravel underneath the Shelter office, trying to coax Sage, one of the office cats, close enough to grab.

She had darted out during an unguarded moment, into a sudden confrontation with a large dog tied outside, and she was under the building before anyone could grab her. The dog is sweet and gentle with cats but of course, she didn't know that.

The day was sunny and spring-like but the ground is still cold, cold, cold. I finally wormed my way out from under the building and fetched my parka to lie on. That gave me a measure of comfort but didn't sway the cat any. I slithered out from under the building several more times to return with catnip, toys and finally salmon--to no avail.

My blandishments and sweet-talk couldn't compete with freedom.

And the mouse.

It was apparent soon after I wiggled as far as I could under the building that the cat was answering to a more ancient instinct than friendship with humans. She was obviously hunting something--and I saw the silhouette of a vole-like shape against the light coming from the other side of the building. Sage was so focused that I was dismissed as a distant distraction.

After about an hour, something changed. I suspect she caught and killed the mouse while I was taking a break, because the final time I wiggled under the building with a dish of salmon, she finally came over to sniff the food and I coaxed her close enough to grab. Holding her firmly and murmuring soothing nonsense, I slinked my way out into the sunshine. She was a good cat and didn't struggle.

Once I had her back in the office, I made sure she had all the salmon she wanted.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004


Max temp: 38 degrees F
Min temp: 27 degrees F

Thirty years have passed since Kisa was born. I still have difficulty expressing how much this little cat has affected my life and the lessons she taught me. I will miss her forever seems like such an exaggeration, but as time passes, I find it ever more true. I still see her in dreams and always feel a pang of loneliness.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Vet Visit

Max temp: 31 degrees F
Min temp: 13 degrees F

I decided it was finally time to start the kittens on their vaccinations.

I don't hold with annual boosters and all that, but I wanted to get them some protection, especially since the cat flu has been going around the Shelter. So about one-thirty I started to round them up. I had allowed fifteen minutes to corral cats and fifteen minutes to drive into town.

I should have started rounding up cats at one.

Lola and Clarence have become friendly, affectionate little kitties but they are still not too far removed from the kittens who were born in the derelect van. It doesn't take much to panic them and once panicked, they revert to semi-feral.

Lola started struggling before I even got her downstairs and it was all I could do to cram her into the carrier and get the door shut before she bolted. I had planned to put both kittens in the same carrier so they would have each other for company but when I tried to put Clarence inside, he slithered over my shoulder and down my back--with his claws. I spent the next fifteen minutes chasing him--up the stairs, over the sofa, down the stairs, around the kitchen table, up the stairs, over the sofa, etc... The only break I got was that humans have more endurance than cats in this type of thing and he eventually gave up, hunkering down by Lena and crying with his little wussy voice. I felt so sorry for him.

By then, of course, the other cats had gotten wind that something was up. Pickle went and hid in the back room but trusting little soul that he is, I lured him out with toys.

I carried all three carriers out to the car, along with an empty one and my purse, then came back and grabbed Punkin, who realized too late that her number was up as well. (No doubt she had been congratulating herself on missing the excursion once the other carriers went out to the car...)

My stack of four carriers impressed the other clients in the waiting room but I told them, "This didn't even make a dent."

Wednesday, February 11, 2004


Max temp: 43 degrees F
Min temp: 29 degrees F
Max wind easterly at 53 kts.

Yes, it is really blowing tonight. Rather scary-sounding, and I won't be on-line long in case the power goes out.

Pickle Boy is looking a lot better over the past few days. All Dots did was give him some eyedrops but whatever has been troubling him seems to have passed and left him none the worse for wear.

I am glad. He is such a sweet, easy-going, uncomplaining little soul, I hate to think he wasn't feeling well.

Thursday, February 5, 2004

Counting Noses

Max temp: 30 degrees F
Min temp: 16 degrees F
Wind southwesterly at 40 kts

This morning I dreamt that the kitchen door had come open and we were outside collecting our cats. As is often the case in dreams, while the door was undoubtedly our kitchen door, the outside area had transformed into a version of my Aunt Joy's backyard in Washington, all green lawn and sunshine.

In my sleep, I mentally went down the list of cats...Johnny, Newt, Red Fred. (Apparently my sleeping brain hasn't yet accepted the fact that Newt can't go missing any more. She is where she will be for all eternity now.) I spent considerable amount of time in my dream trying to coax Red Fred close enough to grab.

As a hangover from the dream, when I left for work this afternoon, I gave the kitchen door an especially strong tug when I closed it, making sure it was securely latched.

Still, about five pm, I had a call from Denny.

"How many cats are in the house?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I had the back door pop open while I was out working in the wood pile. I'm trying to figure out if any are missing. How many cats are in the house? I counted thirteen."

Well, I know we have twenty-eight cats but to come up with the number actually in the main house off the top of my head was hard. I started with the ones that would be the most difficult to retrieve.

"Is Grendel in?"

"I've seen Grendel. She's in."

"How about Clarence and Lola? Are the Toe-Wraiths in?"

"Yeah, the Toe-Wraiths are inside..."

"Okay, let's see--Punkin, Dinky, Bunny..."

"Yeah, they're here..."

I finally had to log in to the cats' webpage to get a roll to call. I am sure that given a few minutes, I could have come up with a list but I didn't want to risk overlooking someone, not with the wild winds and weather.

We finally determined that there should be fourteen cats in the main area of the house. Since Pickle Boy had gone into the back rooms to visit with "the bros", that left the thirteen that Denny had accounted for.

Still, I did another nose count when I got home. Just to make sure.