Have you lost a black cat recently?

Over the past several years, there has been a longish haired black cat roaming the Shadow Springs Ct/Jeffersonton Rd neighborhood. Nobody seems to know who owns it, but some of the neighbors have been feeding it, as it comes onto their porch and begs them for food. The cat is very friendly. There is a good chance that the owners of this lovely cat moved away – there has been a very high turnover of real estate in the area in the past few years.

Last night, after dark, I was returning home from visiting friends. I was entering the house through the garage door, and I saw the cat in the shadows nearby. At first I thought it was one of my cats (I own black cats) and I called out to it to come inside to eat dinner. The cat approached me, and as it got nearer, I realized that it was not my cat at all, and it was limping badly. Recognizing the cat as the friendly cat that my neighbors feed, I let it into the garage, and shut the door.

I called the neighbors that I knew fed the cat, and advised them that I had their cat, and it was injured. I told them that the cat needed to be taken to a vet for treatment. They said that they did not own the cat and that they would not take it to a vet. They said that they had not seen the cat for more than three days and they had assumed that I had taken it in. (Why, I don’t know….)

Not being able to afford to take every stray, injured animal that I see to the vet (the last one was last spring, and it cost thousands of dollars – and died anyway!) I told them that I couldn’t afford to take it to the vet myself. Again, they said that they would not take the cat to a vet and wished me luck.

I called the non-emergency number to the county Sheriff’s department and asked them to have animal control come get the cat and take it to a vet, and to the shelter. Animal control office had closed for the day, and they took down my name and number and said that someone would call me back.

Waiting for the return call, I went out to the garage and fed the cat. The cat was so hungry – it ate more food than I’ve ever seen a cat eat! The cat also drank all the water in the water bowl.

I fixed up a litter box and a bed for the cat, and filled the bowls with food and water again, and warned everyone in the house to stay out of the garage until animal control could come get the cat.

Animal control came out this morning to pick up the cat. The food and water bowls were completely empty again. The cat was so glad to see us! Came limping up to us as quick as it could get to us, and was rubbing up against our legs, wanting to be loved.

The lady from animal control told me that she was going to take the cat straight to the vet. She said that they would do everything they could to fix the cat up and then take the cat to the animal shelter. She agreed with me that this cat had, at one point, been somebody’s pet. When we picked the cat up, we realized that the cat was injured in more than one place, and the lady from animal control said that she thought that maybe the cat had been “hit.” The left front foot had an infected spot near a claw, and the cat was not using it’s rear left leg at all. She promised to keep me informed as to what they do for the cat. I hope they do, and I hope that the county decides to have the vet fix it instead of putting it down (due to expense.) I hope that someone adopts the cat and gives it a wonderful, loving home.

I am saddened that someone would have abandoned this cat, leaving it to fend for itself in the countryside.

The Man And His Horse Standing Vigil

Forrest and Zeke 9-11-15 on Lee Hwy
Forrest and Zeke 9-11-15 on Lee Hwy

Yesterday, on my way into Warrenton to go to the laundromat (yes, my washing machine is broken, thanks Obama!) I was pleasantly surprised to see Forrest Whorton and his horse Zeke standing vigil in recognition of the anniversary of the September 11 tragedy, in the median strip on Lee Highway. I was so lucky to be able to stop for a couple of minutes and take some pictures of him. I have seen him in the past, standing vigil, during other patriotic occassions, but never had the chance to stop and take photos.

This time, I not only managed to stop and take photos, I had the opportunity to talk with him, shake his hand, and thank him for what he was doing, and has done. I introduced myself, and asked him for his name. He told me his name, and his horse’s name. I patted Zeke for a couple of minutes, and a very nice lady that happened by offered to take some photos of us together, which was very nice. I won’t share any of those photos here, but I am sharing one of the photos that I took.

To The Neighbor Who Abandoned Your Pet Cat

This is an open letter to the person who apparently abandoned your pet cat near my road.

Dear neighbor,

Yesterday, my husband spotted your abandoned cat lying very still in the middle of the road while he was driving home from town. He thought the cat was dead, and was going to try to manuever the truck so that he would not strike the body with any of the tires. Just as he got to the “critical point” in the decision of which way to steer, he saw the cat move!. He stopped the truck as quickly as he could. The cat ran under the truck, so my husband got on his hands and knees (not an easy thing for him to do since his accident several years ago) and tried to coax the cat out from under the truck.

The cat quickly came to my husband. He decided to pick up the cat to check for any obvious sign of broken bones or bleeding. The cat did not object to being picked up, and started to purr and rub its head on my husband’s arms and hands while my husband checked the cat over. He saw no sign of injury, but immediately realized that the cat was near starvation. This cat is skin and bones. Being a soft-hearted guy, my husband decided to put the cat in his truck and bring it home to discuss with me what to do for this cat.

Well, when he came home and told me what happened, it only took a few moments before we had a crate set up in the dining room with a beach towel folded over for padding, a make-shift cardboard box lined with plastic bags and filled with kitty litter, and a bowl with a small amount of moist cat food and water ready to accommodate a temporary guest cat. My husband then brought the cat in, and declared that he was going to call this cat “Lucky” because he is certain that the cat would have died on that road within a few minutes of the moment of discovery and rescue.

We don’t know yet what gender this cat is, but I would guess by the length of the body and the shape of the head that this is an adult male. He probably only weighs about two pounds at the most, because the cat really is so emaciated that I am amazed that the cat is even alive.

Lucky cat
Lucky cat

We gently put this cat in the crate and showed him where the food was. That cat quickly ate the moist cat food, and drank some water. We then put in a bowl of dry cat food, and the cat ate a pretty good amount of that, too. He looked around after a few minutes and meowed a couple of times. When we opened the crate door to give him more food and water the cat quickly came to the door, purring, and rubbing its head on our hands and arms, showing us its appreciation. The cat has used the litter box, and has been friendly towards our cats and dogs. We gave the cat a small box, tipped on it’s side, lined at the bottom with a folded towel for a bed, for the cat to nest in and sleep. The cat really seems to like the box, and lies in it with its head positioned so it can see out, looking at the bowls of food and water.

I really expected the cat to die overnight, as it was so emaciated and weak when it arrived. But, much to my surprise, the cat survived the night! So we have given it a little bit more moist food, and left the bowl of dry food in the crate for the cat to nibble on as it feels the need.

We have let it out of the crate a couple of times to walk around the kitchen, and it appears as if both of its back legs have been broken at some point in time. The cat limps badly, but does not appear to be in pain when he handle the legs, so we don’t think that the breaks are fresh.

We plan to keep this cat away from our household pets until we can get him to the vet (hopefully tomorrow) for a check-up and shots. I am concerned that it might be sick. We will ask the vet to determine if the cat has been neutered, and if not, we will neuter it. If it needs to be wormed (probably does) we will take care of that, too.

Because of this cat’s demeanor, we have concluded that this is an abandoned pet. The cat appears to be a mostly black, with some dark brown markings on it. There seem to be several scars on its body.

We don’t know yet if this cat will end up being a house-pet, or if it will choose to live outside after it gets its strength back. I just know that we are deeply saddened that anyone in this town would abandon their pet and leave it to fend for itself. I know a lot of people think “cats are hunters, and they will catch mice and survive just fine.” I’m writing this today, to try to tell people that is not always true. Sometimes they starve to death, or are killed by predators, or run over vehicles. This cat is Lucky that my husband is the one that “almost ran over it” and this cat got rescued. We shudder to think what would have happened if someone else had come along and simply run over the pitiful thing.

Look what the cat dragged in!

Queen snake (free clip art)
Queen snake (free clip art)

Last night while watching television I noticed our male cat (Phrayed-Tee cat) playing with something on the carpet a few feet away from me. I had just settled on the sofa, and looked towards the television. The cat was in my line of vision between the television and the sofa. I noticed he was batting at something on the floor. I have grown accustomed to him dragging voles into the house from outside through the doggie door, and my first thought was “Oh, great, he dragged in another vole.” I wanted to take the vole away from him before he ended up killing it and hiding it behind the sofa, or some other little nook in the house where the smell of decomp would eventually bring the little critter to my attention.

So I got up from the sofa to get a better look at what the cat was playing with, to be able to better prepare myself for the mission of taking away a vole. Much to my chagrin, I discovered that the cat was playing with a full grown (twenty-four inch) queen snake!

green snake (free clip art)
green snake (free clip art)

Well, I’m not the type of person to scream and run away from snakes – in fact when I was in elementary school I found a green snake out in the back yard, picked it up and put it in a box and took it to school for show and tell! (My teacher was NOT happy about that at all!)

black snake (free clip art)
black snake (free clip art)

When I was a child, my older brothers had several large black snakes they kept in aquariums in their bedrooms. I used to pick up and handle them, so I knew that black snakes are harmless. This snake that had suddenly appeared in my living room, however, I wasn’t sure if it was harmless or not – I just knew it was brown. I KNOW that some brown snakes are harmless, but in this area of the state, not all brown snakes are harmless! And I hadn’t seen it’s head to be able to see if it had that triangle shape yet. To top it all off, the snake was still alive – it was moving!

Obviously I wanted to get that snake out of my house as quickly as possible, but I didn’t want to just reach down and grab it. So, what to do? Yell for other members of the house to come into the room to help me catch it! I hollered for my husband to come out to the living room as fast as he could. Poor guy was asleep, and was not wanting to come out of the bedroom. But I kept hollering at him to come immediately, I needed his help! My son heard the ruckus and came to check it out. When they got to the living room doorway and I told them that the cat was playing with a snake, they couldn’t see the snake and it took them a few minutes to see it. There was a cat toy in their line of vision, so they had to move it out of the way.

Once they saw that there really was a snake, they declared that it was dead, but I knew better. They stood there, looking at the snake, talking about what to do about the situation. I left the room and found a rectangular trash can, took out the plastic bag from the trash can and then went up to the snake and inverted the trash can over the snake. My husband and son looked at me and said “what did you do THAT for?” I replied “so the snake won’t get away!”

flat cookie sheet (free clip art)
flat cookie sheet (free clip art)
Then I went into the kitchen and grabbed a flat cookie sheet – one with no edges on it, one that was larger than the opening of the trash can. I handed it to my husband and suggested that he slide it under the trash can and then flip the trash can right-side up to trap the snake. He did so, and once the trash can was right-side up he removed the cookie sheet to look inside. I’m not sure that I would have done that, but that is what he did. He looked inside and declared that the snake was dead.

I told him I was pretty sure that the snake was very much alive and looked inside the trash can for myself. The snake was moving around in the bottom of the trash can, looking for a way out. Yeah, he was very much alive alright! I asked my husband to escort the snake outside and release him back out into the yard somewhere. He took the can outside, and brought it back a few moments later.

I washed the cookie sheet with hot soapy water, but I suspect that every time I bake cookies in the future I’ll be thinking about that snake. And I am wondering what will be the NEXT critter to be dragged into the house through that doggie door!

Blue orchids

Blue orchids
Blue orchids

For most of my life blue has been one of my favorite colors. I also like pink and purple a lot, but generally speaking when given a choice between primary colors, I gravitate towards blue. So when I went shopping at Wal-Mart a couple of days ago I was very attracted to some bright cobalt blue orchids that were on display in the Garden department.

Normally I do not enter Wal-Mart through the Garden department entrance, but that day my husband had parked the car in front of that entrance. I don’t know why, but he did. At first I was going to stay in the car and wait for him, as I was tired, but then I realized that we needed some bananas and some bread, and milk, so I decided to go ahead and get out of the car and go inside and buy them.

So I walked into the store with my husband, and parted ways after we stopped to admire the blue orchids. I simply fell in love with them. I have not owned any orchids for about the past thirty years, and I missed having an orchid plant. I had not purchased any for a variety of reasons. Frugality was a primary one, but also a reluctance to buy another plant that would require watering and tending. I have not been very good about taking the proper care of my plants for a long while now. I have several plants, but they are surviving in spite of me, not because of me!

Well, the blue color simply demanded that I purchase¬†the plant. It was twenty dollars, and I was reluctant to spend the money, but I was “in a mood” and splurged on the plant after all.

When I got home and was reading the tag that came with the plant I discovered that the blue color was a result of a color-infusion process, and although the orchid will re-bloom in the future (assuming I don’t kill it) when it DOES re-bloom¬†it will not be blue – it will likely be white.

That was a disappointment, but the plant is still holding the blossoms quite well and is very pretty. I only have to water it once a week, which is good. So far the pets have left it alone, which was a very pleasant surprise! I wonder how long it will last.