Friday, October 14, 2011

Cats, Cats, Cats: Last Part!

So what is going to happen to these little darlings?  Mimi the cat rescuer believes she can take the little angel to a place where she will be quickly adopted on or around Monday of next week.

Guera and little Mimi will likely be here until around the end of the month, when Mimi the cat rescuer has a potential foster mother who can keep them on a long term basis if needed.

Gemelo, I forgot to mention in yesterday's post, is one of the feral-gone-domestic cats who weaseled his way into the commando.  And we are hoping to get some deworming meds for the entire commando next week.  He is first on the agenda because he steals the rest of the commando's food right off their plates while they are eating. The feeding procedure here has become quite complicated and I need to work on that too!  I am hoping the meds help Gemelo because the rest are more courteous and eat their own food, which I now serve on up to 9 separate plates in separate places. It's a circus.

Sometimes when animal caregiving gets a little out of hand, there is help closer than you think. Thanks to those who provided the happiness that having kittens in the house provides, and more thanks to all those folks like Jill, Sylvia, Mimi and a host of others who help to make it all work, so I can continue to love and support the commando in charge.

Just a few more shots of these darling kitties: Indulge me. I'm done with today's cat story.

Mimi comes out from under the bed!

 Allows some petting, please excuse the photo angle, it's too late at night to edit now.

Guera purrs while she enjoys her petting session.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cats, Cats, Part 2

A couple of weeks ago a good friend of mine with a part-time (for now) home in Mérida contacted me and asked if I could help take care of two kittens that a good friend of hers found here, and wants to keep, while renovating HIS Mérida home.  My girlfriend has always been thoughtful and kind to MY cats, visiting them bearing treats...catnip, toys, treats, she has often even contributed to the cost of feeding the resident 9 cat commando here.  Cat lovers always help cat lovers, and of course there is my vocation to fulfill.

Pablo and I agreed to visit and care for the little kittens at the friend's friend's home for several weeks., and we spent a long time with them, trying to relieve some of their fright, see, their mom was a crack ho. Couldn't resist. In the world of cat moms, that is how I saw her - minus the crack, because I DID see her! Every time we left the kitties we felt sad, that they were stuck to each other like glue in a huge cage, and too shy to come out with people around.  Mimi the animal rescuer had been caring for them too, and had made quite a bit of progress, but they had been slow in responding to the concept of TRUSTING people. 

On maybe the fourth day we decided to catnap them.  We had promised to feed and care for them for several weeks.  Although their location was a mere 5 Mérida blocks from my house, if we drove there the one way streets made it seem like a 15 minute drive, and then there would be no parking. We discussed it and decided we had a catproof room where they could reside for their stay most of October.  I had an extra catbox, was provided litter and food, and the best cat toy - the ball spinning around in the wheel. We gathered up the toys we had taken over there, the cats and the accoutrements and brought them to our house.  We didn't take their cage. They needed to work their way out of that cage, and there are animals in our house that would freak out if they saw a big ole' jail!  I pulled out some toys our cats most enjoyed while kittens.  I hung things around the room for them to bat around and destroy.  They came out the first night and played with all the toys, and by the second day had destroyed a couple. Of course they are reparable and the fun begins all over, so no big deal.

We have been trying to spend extra time with them in the room, so they eventually come out from under the bed while we are there.  It's been a challenge, they are so timid.  Here is Guera and Mimi.  Guera means light colored, and the architect named the other one after Mimi, the cat rescuer. 

After the initial hiss, they both will let you hold them and pet them, and blondie is the more outgoing of the two. Mimi is extremely shy, and she doesn't think I'm quite the greatest because I make her take vitamins. If our visit doesn't involve vitamins, she is more tolerant of the petting.  Problem is, whenever we are around, they stay hidden under the bed in the far corner. 

Yesterday I finally had a lighter work schedule and had the time to go into the room and just hang out in there, play with them, just be there. I was reading a great book, but I was exhausted and fell sound asleep.  The screen door to their room had been closed and as far as I knew, the few cats here who can open doors, didn't enter, it's a noisy door and that would have woken me. I heard Pablo say something and heard "Meow! Meow! Meow!" and it was coming from the carport. I ran out to see, still half asleep, and saw Guera!  I grabbed her from under the car and took her back to the room. When I entered, I looked around and under the bed and there they were, Guera and Mimi, just as pictured above.  The cat I picked up was half the size of the two cats we are fostering, scared out of her wits, and wouldn't stop meowing. At first I separated them and put the new kitten outside in the bathroom with water and food. She was too  shook up for that. So Pablo suggested we put them together. It was worth a try. They had mutual hisses and that was that.  Guera and Mimi watched the pint sized kitten immediately go for all the toys and play her little heart out.  She would take a break and walk over for a drink of water and a little snack. Then jump into a new game.  Soon, Guera became interested in this potential playmate.  She has been coming out from under the bed during the day and during our visits.  Mimi I usually have to drag out if I am in there, and she retreats to her corner after she is done tolerating the petting. 

When I found out that was a third kitten I really freaked out.  St.Francis, what on earth do I do?  I absolutely cannot increase size of the commando or adopt another kitten!  Really!  I was trying to come up with reasonable solutions, and panic emailed my animal rescuer friends.  That turned out to be a good idea.

Look at her:

She is clean, has four white paws, and a coral orange colored nose.  She loves to be loved, and can't fall asleep if I am not by her side. She loves to play, alone or with the others.  She is much more active than the other two.  She is likely 5-6 weeks old at the outset. She immediately inspired the other two to become more playful and show a little more trust.  They are co-existing very well and even little Mimi the shy one is coming out during the day to play and check things out.  The new kitten was probably just removed from her mom and a special someone who was giving her attention when that someone threw her into my carport.  This is where the story comes together with yesterday's post......known in the neighborhood as the biggest sucker for kitties.  What started out to be a frightening day for me and a little kitten turned out to be the best thing that could have happened in our situation. 

And this is the state of things today. I have nine cats surrounding me early in the day wanting breakfast, as well as in the evening.  I already mentioned what they can do if I am on the computer. Plus the babies to deal with and the new one is quite vocal.  Mimi the cat rescuer is certain we can easily adopt out the new baby kitty up north somewhere, I can't remember where, I was in shock that the kitten population had increased, and she could move out on Monday.  Mimi brought them more food, and also mentioned she could bring de-wormer for the savage eater, Gemelo, who probably is full of parasites.  Hopefully we can treat more of the kids in the commando.  I have to say that Mimi the animal rescuer is really providing a terrific service to the animals in trouble in this town.  This is not to speak ill of  any of the animal rescuers, there are a lot of people involved in bettering the lives of all the domestic animals here in Mérida.  Two of the organizations doing magnificent work are Evolución and YAPA.  They have made a noticeable difference for the animals in the area and many volunteers work their buns off helping to get the overpopulation under control as well as care for abandoned animals.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Animal Love: Cats, Part One

If you have visited my house or read my blogs these past few years, you know a bit about my love of cats. My inability to say no to a crying kitten staring at me with those innocent eyes. My never ending searches for Buster, who was found, and for Mokito, who is 'still missing'. My willlingness to budget my food and live on bananas, apples, cheese and crackers....oh and peanuts in a shell...for days sometimes just to make sure the cats eat their favorite crunchies and CANNED food! I'm going to blame it on my Catholic upbringing (Gotta blame someone.) Those nuns told me I would have a 'calling' in life, a vocation if you will, which would lead me to the best of the NO OPTIONS life I faced in our Polish Catholic neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio. In 50's and 60's, 'callings' for girls were: 'wife and mother', 'nurse', 'nun' or 'factory worker', if I remember the entire gamut correctly. Obviously I never had a calling because I worked a gamut of careers in my adult life. (Using careers to describe my job history is a stretch, but it is the word I've chosen). I had and still have a strange need to live and work among other cultures and peoples. In some of these places, many many animals need a lot of help, love and care. I'm in one of those places now.

St. Francis of Assissi is still my favorite subject of twelve years of Catholic schooling. HE gave me a calling. I understood that I was to save and feed all the needy animals who crossed my path throughout my lifetime. That is quite a calling and it appears I still own it. A career, no. Becoming a veterinarian was never an option, - see options above. No one would have coupled my love of animals with a career oriented toward that interest, e.g. veterinarian, there wasn't any such counseling. I'm only realizing now that there were quite a few interests I could have pursued, but didn't know of any avenues to get there in the early 60's.

Since I wasn't allowed pets as a kid, in my yard I made friends with squirrels, nightcrawlers, caterpillars, bumble bees, and butterflies; years later in my underwater life - moray eels, reef fish, jellyfish, sea cucumbers and nurse sharks. With the cats, though, I may have taken this calling a little too far. I say that because now I have the moniker of  (crazy)(old) cat woman. That's how I feel sometimes too, when I am caught talking out loud to my furry friends. People around the neighborhood all seem to know that I take care of a lot of cats. I don't suppose my frequent purchases of whiskas pouches, occasionally canned tuna, and bags of cat crunchies give me away a few doors down at the Dunasusa store(plecios chinos, plecios balatos).

The love between animals and the people they own can be beautiful and fulfilling. A little creature who trusts you 100% and knows when you are sick or stressed and thus sits by your side trying to console you in their kitty (or doggy - no bias here, it's just that this is supposed to be about cats) ways. A creature you can cuddle and cry with and they look at you with equally saddened eyes, as if to say, "Don't cry, I am here for you and I love you." I quite appreciate having a human mate who comforts me during those times, don't get me wrong, but the extra love from one's pets is special, it must warm a separate part of our hearts or souls.

Ok, sorry. Here is the story I want to tell. You would think I would edit out all that crap above, but no, I don't think so - it seems to have fused into the story itself.  A little excessive for a lead in, but these are true feelings I have and doubt I have ever expressed them this way. When my 'human mate' is away from home, I never feel alone because I still have the love of the animals around me.

And as you can see, I mean LITERALLY around me. I took this photo a few weeks ago and I have since changed computer desk and location and have placed their pillows on the stools and table near me but away from the keyboard, mouse and screen. But these cats actually sit with me while I spend many hours on the computer. Things only get ugly when they demand a mid-afternoon treat - it's a power move, they don't get afternoon snacks around here - but if I don't respond they start sending faxes, make me hit the mouse when I am not in the right spot, walk across the keyboard, or my favorite -change the settings. Moka turns off the volume. They change settings I don't even know about, but they know just which button to hit...what am I to do?  Off I go to give them a snack, so I can then restore my settings and continue with whatever I was doing, and shortly everyone is back in their favorite spots to sleep away the day as I keep on workin'. After resetting the buttons they hit during the power move, that is. How many friends would quietly stay by your side for 8 hours at a time? Animal love is special.