The camera is operational approx 10am until dusk . Pictures are updated every 10 minutes
At the moment, we are not using chromakey.
During the winter, we sometimes play with chroma keying. A K&H heating pad is located under the towels, and the reason that some like to "sack out" here ! (not to mention being near a food dish !)
Spring, Summer and Fall, we aim the camera to the outside enclosed area
What I thought might be real neat is to experiment with chroma-keying in a
different background where everything "Green" in the
original image is replaced by a different background, the same technique used by the local TV weather broadcasts. The possibilities are endless, as the background could be anything ! Getting the entire process automated is something of a challenge.. Though working (of sorts) It's still under development, so be patient while I get the software bugs ironed out so everything "plays nicely" together... In the meantime, it's fun substituting different venues such as a tropical island for the background in the dead of winter here in Maine.
What brought this on was the impossible backlighting situation especially with snow on the gound. Merely blocking off the sunlight for the window would have solved the problem, but a backdrop of drapes didn't seem all that appealing.
Most times the background is just the live webcam viewing the cove... A separate webcam with a view out to the barn is the actual view from the bay window. I suppose I could add another webcam just to capture that so that it is the actual view, but too many other things to get done first !
|Original with Chroma-key Green background||Replacement Image||Original view from bay window|
The final composite !
In Memory of Barclay
Euthanized 12-2-2009 4:32pm EST at the age of 19
Click on his picture above for a 4
minute Flash Slideshow of
his life here (5.3mb)
This is a flash movie and you must have a .swf Flash Player installed to view it !
(Music is a shortened selection from China Roses by Enya. The full length is available on CD - Album: The Memory of Trees)
Barclay was the very first of many shelter cats I took in, always being passed over for adoption because of his age.. He belonged to the first group of three: Jenny, Baxter and Barclay. Both Barclay and his littermate Baxter were adopted together to avoid splitting them up. He was already a "senior citizen" when I first brought him home.. yet even at that age, he'd follow me everywhere and evening walks together was something of a daily ritual. Hard to put in to words what makes some of them special, but perhaps part of it was that Barclay's personality was nearly identical to the original airport cat whom he was named after... But the ravages of time and old age ultimately took their toll, and he started to slow noticeably, beginning about the age of 17. At least I was able to give him the best of retirement homes... He always loved his evening "furminatings", right up until last night. This morning it was clear that his days were numbered, and the time had come to spare him the agony of a slow death...
Tonight, he's I'm certain in a better place, having crossed the Rainbow Bridge...
Tonight there is this feeling of there being this certain energy void in the house: a deep sense of emptiness that permeates every space, that's hard to explain... Anyone who has ever lost a beloved pet can certainly relate. For some of us, their lives become so intertwined with our own, that when they are gone, a part of our own gets ripped away as well... I never would have guessed at the time that on old orange tabby that no one else wanted, would make such an impact....
Perhaps the best tribute to his memory and life, is adopting another orange tabby that will also inherit the name Barclay... That search has already begun....
Update: The search ended on Feb 12, 2010 when the shelter called and said they had "just the cat" ... His shelter name was Romie... Being a senior cat, he was always being passed over... Anyways, Romie was renamed to Barclay IV....
When you donate to your local shelter, where does your money go ?
Find out by checking out this video tribute to the Humane Society of Knox County Maine
Pictures - Cat Galleries
NEW ! Latest addition to the Gallery:
Callie - South Carolina
Click the "Film strip" above, to enter the Picture Galleries
Care to have your favorite "Puddy" in our Gallery ? Then just send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Please attach picture, Pet's name, City and/or State and a brief comment that will also appear. (The gallery is updated normally at the end of each day).
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How it all started...
Ever since I can remember, we always had house cats. Having grown up in a rural area at the time, the family cat was the one I spent most of my time playing with as a kid. Other than just one other single child in the entire neighborhood (a total of 3 residences) by default, she became my closest companion. No matter..... She just loved snow forts and playing games of hide & seek...... In retrospect, I don't think she actually perceived herself as being a cat..... More than just a companion, an early bond had formed that would continue on for many years to early High School when she passed away .... Her loss was my first encounter with having lost a soul whom I'd loved dearly........
Perhaps growing up with them, makes them an integral part of your life, which in my case, also carried over in later years into the business environment as well. Digital Equipment Corporation (at that time a 14 Billion dollar Fortune 50 (read: Fifty !) Corp, had a Corporate Cat on staff.. The head receptionist at the main Corporate entrance, took in and adopted a local stray cat with the blessing of Ken Olsen - CEO, President & founder. He became the unofficial Corporate greeter. Every time I went in through the main entrance, just about anyone waiting for their appointment, couldn't pass up the opportunity to make friends. Perhaps, this was DEC's ultra secret & highly effective marketing weapon ! Only a hunch, but I would guess that he might have been personally responsible for tens of millions in sales just by putting potential customers at ease....... Let's face it: it's common knowledge that any place that has a contented cat on staff, speaks volumes about the real "Corporate Culture" (& not the "plastic dribble - fantasy world" concocted by the marketing geniuses of Madison Ave)
Likewise, the Companies I owned also usually had several "working" cats "on staff". Not only did the employees immensely enjoy having them around, but so did the customers. (At least the ones not allergic to cat dander that is).... Something about a very social cat cozying up to a client that puts everyone at ease....
Often times, customers would just "stop by" just to visit with Barclay or one of the others they established a relationship with. It was a common occurrence that all of us took note of... (it was also somewhat "humbling" and clearly established the true "pecking order", knowing they often stopped by just to visit Barclay and not us !)....
The "original" Barclay - Circa 1978
(Scanned from the front page of the regional newspaper who did
numerous articles on him)
The photo and article was captioned "Minuteman Airfield's Night Manager"
The other Barclay's over the years....
|Barclay II 1980||Barclay III 2003||Barclay IV 2010|
At the time, we were called Air Image Technology,
Inc that specialized in Aerial Photography, Planimetric Mapping and Aerial Thermographic
Since we used both fixed wing and helicopters for our aerial survey work, we were located at Minuteman Airfield in Stow, MA - FAA designation 6B6
That's how we came to know & take care of Barclay.
* * * * * * *
Barclay wasn't really "owned" in the conventional sense by anyone - - - although it is common knowledge that no one ever truly "owns" a cat. Found as an abandoned kitten and taken in by Jean (one of the early Airport Coffee Shop waitresses), Barclay was raised & grew up at the airport. Jean subsequently left and later Betsy who ran the Coffee shop took over taking care of him during the day with the blessing of Don, the Airport Owner & Manager. Betsy often referred to him as "The BIG B"........ Both Jean and later Besty spoiled Barclay "rotten"... He had his own personal chefs that made him an egg breakfast most mornings...
Raised & taken care of by everyone, Barclay was a highly socialized cat. Hence; almost nothing ever seemed to bother him, including the roar of aircraft engines and even jet turbines. Those sounds were all part of his world and the only one he ever knew.The mechanics would often have to shoo him out of aircraft in the hanger in for maintenance where he could sometimes be found cat napping, so the "Big B" was quite comfortable around aircraft.... What made Barclay special, was that he loved to go flying when in the right "mood". That was highly unusual for a cat, even considering he grew up both in & around aircraft. Naturally with my love of cats to begin with, me and Barclay quickly became bonded.. The first time he flew, he came down and jumped in our Cessna while I was performing the pre-flight inspection. He entered through the open pilots door and made himself at home atop the instrument panel. I was somewhat intrigued at this behavior & thought he would leave once the engine started, but instead, he remained undaunted. A fast taxi down the active runway to see how he would react, refused to evoke a negative response, other than opening an eye and looking around and then at me as if to say; "so are you gonna take me for a spin or not ? " We could only assume at that point he desired to go aloft ! So having taxied again into position and holding with Barclay still remaining undaunted, I opened the throttle to full takeoff power. We both thought this might arouse his concerns with the acceleration forces, vibration and noise levels . Instead, he just lifted his head from dozing to observe the takeoff. Once at altitude and throttled back, he just laid his head back down and took in the view... We were absolutely amazed !
That was the very start of Barclay's desire to go flying... Come to find out, Barclay later flew with many of the other pilots at the airfield as well, but I think his favorite aircraft was our Cessna 172 single engine (perhaps since it was also one of the quietest we used). Though we used both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft, his love of flying however was limited to fixed wing airplanes, and we could never entice him to jump into either the small Robinson R-22 or the larger Bell Jet Ranger Helicopter..... Initially we thought he just didn't like the high pitched whine of the Jet Ranger's turbine as it spooled up, but neither could he be cajoled or even bribed into entering the R-22 - which had a conventional Lycoming gas engine..... the sound (other than the beating rotor blades) of which he was normally well accustomed to. Cessna's, Pipers, even the twin engine Aero Commander etc : single or multi-engine were just Fine.... just as long as "the sucker" had fixed wings.... but no way under the sun was he gonna "set paw" into one of those unforgiving whirling contraptions that shook unmercifully & was held aloft by just one "Jesus Nut".... (In retrospect, I've come to conclude he had far more common sense than what we did...)
Anyways, while not "slipping the surly bounds of earth & dancing the skies on laughter-silvered wings", Barclay could often be found in his personal chair at the airport coffee shop where he could keep track of airport operations and also fulfill his other equally important duty as that of Official Coffee shop Food Appraiser (Read; OCSFA Agent). Woe be to anyone that dared take Barclay's designated Coffee Shop chair !
Most commercial Airline pilots also have their
own personal aircraft and both Bruce & Florey both Delta Captains, were
no exception. Anytime either would depart Logan & be clear of the Boston
TCA, they'd call in on the Airports' Unicom frequency and often ask Betsy who
had a radio right by the grill in the Coffee shop, how Barclay was doing amongst
other chatter. Other airline pilots would listen in ,and it wasn't long before his fame
& reputation as the "Flying Cat", spread throughout the airline aviation community...
Barclay had more press coverage than any cat I know. Dozens of articles were written about him over his lifetime in the local newspapers. Thus it was not unusual for folks to drive out to the airport just to meet the real Barclay, who's life's adventures they would read about, & would often compete with one another for the privilege of "Dining with Barclay" at the Airport Coffee shop. (Barclay "Dined Well")...
So adored was he by all the pilots that frequented the airfield, he was also the only cat I knew that had his very own personal physician who's Veterinary Clinic was located in neighboring New Hampshire & yet flew in with his Cessna 310, to give him his checkups & medical attention all "pro bono". ( How many of us can lay claim to that level of medical attention no matter how comprehensive our policies or high the premium payments ??? )
When not "busy" guarding the coffee shop or beating the ever-loving stuffing out of "Golden", the airport dog, Barclay spent the rest of his time with us. Since we were usually open 24/7, Barclay had his evening sleeping accommodations at Air Image Technology located in the north hanger and south office building. So by default I ended up becoming his primary "care giver". Even the Stow Police Dept visited nightly to check on him while making their rounds.... (Funny:..... in retrospect, they seldom stopped by just to see if we were ok !) Anyways, goes without saying I suppose, that he was also the most intelligent cat I ever knew.... (and I've had quite a few)........ I swear he understood simple sentences and entire phrases.....
Two private pilots often frequented the field: - Chet and Natalie Jacobson who both News Anchored as well as hosted the nationally acclaimed and nationally syndicated Chronicle Series on WCVB-TV. Not only did they immediately hit it off with Barclay being pilots themselves, but being news professionals, both Chet & Natalie knew a good story when they saw it, & planned on doing a Chronicle special on him. No more being just a famous local newspaper celebrity; Barclay was about to hit the big time & go "National" !
Sadly, several weeks before his scheduled taping, Barclay disappeared. A week was spent searching the woods, fields and runway approaches all to no avail. Just about everyone at the airport was devastated..... By now he was much more than just the Airport Cat .........
In tribute, every pilot Barclay flew with got together one Saturday morning & flew a "missing man formation" in his memory........
Not quite in the league of the Blue Angels sort of thing, the formation was made up of a rag-tag collection of privately owned Cessna Skyhawks, an Aircoupe, Stitts Biplane, Piper Cherokees etc.
But no matter: Barclay had simply become one of us.....
Upon landing, hardly a dry eye could be
found amongst us.......
(I suspect he might have been the very first cat to receive such a tribute).
Amazing how an old orange airport Puddy can have such a profound effect on everyone he touched.
Some 45 years later, and the names of many of the people who frequented the airfield at that time, have tended to fade with memory...
But everyone from that period remembers Barclay.
"I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul". - Jean Cocteau
I suppose many folks have their own personal
"crusades".... "Save the Whale, March for AIDS, Walk for Cancer, Save
the Children, Make a Wish, Save the Forests,
Save the Elephants, Tigers, Sea Turtles, Wolf, Mosquitoes or whatever. The list seems almost endless, and most worthy of support.
For me, I choose to take in homeless - abandoned
cats and often those that often stand little chance of being adopted due to
old age or other medical problems....
I am not an official shelter (though I'd no doubt should qualify) and as an individual, can only provide a good home for up to a maximum of 20 at any given time.
But this is my own small crusade....
Truth be known, the audio/video business here seems nothing more than but a "front" & funding source for the animal shelter...... (or at least it seems that way...)
What follows is a partial list of the more
recent cats that have been adopted.
Many successes, but also some heartbreaking losses .... (†)
I suppose when one takes in very sick or elderly cats, some losses are to be expected. Doesn't make it any easier though....
Lara has been renamed !.... I started noticing (pretty hard not to notice) that every morning there would be Q-Tips in the water bowl. First I thought one might have been knocked off the counter & fallen in, but it was suddenly becoming a daily occurrence. There's always Q-Tips all over the place here, since we use them for cleaning audio and video heads, but even after cleaning up all the loose ones about, there would still be new Q-Tips in the water bowl each morning. This was a mystery
I suspected Merlin as being the culprit, since he's the one that's always been fascinated with water..... but finally caught Lara "red handed". Turns out she'll scrounge the entire place for a Q-Tip and if none can be found loose, then she'll proceed to the video room and "open a new box". She'll put nothing else in the water bowl - only Q-tips !
So... I renamed her "Q-Tip" or "Queue'y" for short !
Mama Kitty- Adopted Spring 1990
Found as an adult cat one rainy Sat am in Boxborough, MA soaked to the bone and appearing half starved... Gave her a can of tuna and figured I just got another cat ! Well she stays a week, checks the place out... "Hmmmm.... Good food, warm & dry, allowed to sleep anywhere I please, have the entire run of the place, and even the entire staff spoils me rotten..... PLUS the owner's a real "pushover" ! --- "Cushy Setup"..... think I'll bring "The Kid"....... So a week later she shows up with her kitten approximately only two weeks old.
Pretty smart to check us out first..... but did I ever get "suckered"..... I named her kitten Skrunchy
Mama Kitty was found in the spring of 1990 and the vet guessed she was already 4 years old by then. Mama Kitty would curl up with me at the end of each day. She was put to sleep Dec 10, 2004 after living a long good life. (18 years old)
Skrunchy - Spring 1990
The only daughter of Mama Kitty.... She appeared to be 99% pure Maine Coon with all the temperament. The vet suggested she most likely had been adopted by the mother, since they were so different.... She loved to play, and typical of a Maine Coon, was quite inquisitive. Whether working on the lobster boat or repairing a car or tractor, Skrunchy would jump right in and observe for as long as I was busy, though she was never what you would call a "lap cat".
Each spring come boat prep time, she'd climb the ladder to check it out, and claimed it for her very own".
The only time she ever became a" lap cat" was when she kept my Mom company in her last days. My guess is she sensed what she had to do, as she was also my Mom's favorite.... Losing her was especially hard, as she was in a sense, the last living link with my Mom. Ironically, Skrunchy also died of uterine cancer, as had my Mom...
Barclay - Adopted: Feb 2005
Turns out Barclay is a true lap cat and despite the picture of making him out to be a total loaf, is actually a good "mouser".
Barclay is now amazingly well
adjusted and one whom you would call a real Pal...
Didn't take long for a bond to form.
Update - Sep 2007: Barclay still
goes mousing and manages to catch some !
Not bad for an old guy in his 80's in cat years !
Jenny - Jenny Adopted: Feb 2005
While there, I always check out their quarantine room where they keep the really sick cats. The poor things there never stand a chance of adoption since they are so sick.
Jenny-Jenny as I call her, would stick her paw out to drag me back each time we'd start to move on to another cage - despite being so sick. No sense looking further ... She was begging for a home it seemed
Took several long months to build her health back, but she's now an avid hunter.
She is not what I'd call a "lap Cat", but she still loves chin scratches and evening brushings... just so long as it's on her own terms !
Baxter - Adopted Feb 2005
Since Baxter was Barclay's brother and also 12 years old, it was only fitting that I take him as well.
Baxter like his brother Barclay, was another true "lap cat" and always eager to help out with any office task.
Unlike Barclay that never ventured beyond sight of the house, Baxter instead was a " wanderer".
Baxter sadly disappeared Aug
Baxter was a neat cat and his loss was the final motivation to purchase a Radio Direction Finder and transmitting collars for every remaining cat I had. I really didn't care much what it cost.... Having a transmitting collar probably wouldn't have saved him, but would have alerted me to the fishers in the area had I found his remains earlier.
Baxter was a neat cat whom I really missed.....
Boomer - Adopted Dec 29, 2005
With Boomer, a special bonding took place that cannot be expressed in words.
Of all the cats I've ever had, Boomer was something special.
He will be missed dearly...
I went back to the shelter to
pick up Memo, Sara & Herman. With 3 cats being adopted that day,
I was in no mood to get yet another. But this little pure black
cat leapt up on my shoulder and wouldn't come down.
As soon as I'd put him down, he'd follow close behind and leap up
again as soon as the opportunity presented itself again. The shelter
staff said they never saw anything like it.....
He was determined, relentless, and not about to take "No"
for an answer....
Boomer was something special - and anyone who has ever met him wanted to take him home. Even when going to the vet, everyone wants to come out and meet him. He has a certain charm that can't be put into words.
Why he was always passed over for adoption at the shelter shall forever remain a mystery.
Consequently. "War" has been
declared on the local Coyote population.
Click HERE to read more on Boomer
Memo - Adopted 12-29-2005
Though I normally only consider cats no one else would want, an almost instant friendship with Memo was made while at the shelter.....
No real surprise that Memo settled in literally within a minute of his arrival in his new home. It didn't take long for a strong bond to form.
There was this morning ritual where after washing my face in the morning, Memo would hop on my shoulder from the bathroom sink countertop, and make the short "commute" to the kitchen for breakfast. Every morning - no fail...
Memo was the only cat I ever had that loved to play fetch. He'd bring his toys back and drop it right in your hand, while waiting for you to toss it again so he could give another chase.
How he loved to play & the least amount of attention would result in Memo drooling in sheer ecstasy.
Sadly, Memo was hit and killed by a car March 22, 2006. That was a hard loss, and for the past 3 days, I haven't been able to concentrate on much of anything. Coding this page is one of the ways I'm dealing with it. Hard to believe how attached you can get.
Memo was something special..... Of all the miles of empty woods and fields out back, why did he have to venture way out on Rt-220.... I'm not even close to the main road ??? ......
In all other endeavors other
than when it comes to cats, I'm hardly a "touchy-feely" type personality,
but cried for 3 days over his loss... Makes it especially
tough when you've bonded.....
Don't think I'll ever see another cat toy laying about without thinking of Memo....
Sara Adopted: 12-29-2005
About time for her fortunes to take a turn for the better...
Took several months to put some
weight on her ,as she was nothing more than skin and bones....
The Vet says the heart murmur is permanent due to
her near starvation.... there is no cure. Today however, you'd
never know it from her activity level ! Amazing what
a good loving home and nutritious food will do....
Today, she is the most active
of the adult indoor/outdoor cats who likes to hunt and roam.
(If this is the result of a bad heart
murmur, then I think I 'm also in need of something similar !
To the SOB (sorry.. but that's about as kindly as I can put it) that tossed both her & her kittens out into the cold Maine winter, fitting justice I figure if what "goes around, comes around". (such things often do).....
The sob will get no sympathy whatsoever from me, & pray my tax dollars won't support their Socialist State subsidized lifestyle when ultimately, "what goes around", finally comes around...
Wish I knew who brought Sara & her kittens to the shelter.... I would love to keep them updated on how Sara made out in life...
* * * * * * *
Curiosity has the best of me..... Think I'll call the shelter and see if I can find out who it was....
Herman Adopted: 12-29-2005
I spied Herman on the Shelter's web page. Let's face it: Herman had a face that only his mother could love !....... Herman was also suffering from an on going eye infection at the shelter and had heart problems. He was 13 years old when I got him.
Not many people will adopt an old sick cat, so the chances of Herman ever being adopted, ranged from extremely slim to virtually none ..... He remained at the shelter close to a year and was always "passed by"... Poor Herman - and with being so depressed & stressed with shelter life, his chances of surviving in the shelter just another several months, were equally remote. Add to that, he also had a bad heart murmur. So, ended up taking in Herman as well.
Bartonella bacterial infection was the cause of Hermie's eye problems, & once given the appropriate antibiotic, his eyes finally cleared up... Turns out, once settled in, Herman is a great and loyal companion. Today, he is far from depressed and is living out his "retirement years" in an ideal environment for an elderly cat.
Hard to know what they think or on what level they reason (other than to say that they obviously do - perhaps more so than what we might suspect), but my guess is that Hermie senses what was done for him and displays his appreciation with a deep affection. Herman sleeps with me every night...
Perhaps due to his early appearance.....
but around the office, he's known as "The Herman-ator"
Sundance Feb 2000
Sundance was a male feral cat that showed up on the rear deck each day...
I'd trap him in the basement for the brutally cold winter months here in Maine, but could never venture close. Though he finally learned to trust me enough to come within a foot or so for breakfast and supper, he forever remained feral.
April 2004 is the last time I saw Sundance.
I never really got to know Sundance , other than to know he had a hard life.
I made his winter months easy as possible but felt it cruel to hold him "hostage" come each spring. I took care of Sundance for 4 years as best he would let me.
I never knew what became of him - a Coyote most likely....
But he lived his life the way he wanted, and disappeared with a full tummy.....
For some; that's all you can do.......
Kelly Jun 21 2006
Occasionally I take in a stray based solely on their looks & personality. Kelly though I'd guess about 5 yrs old has one of those kitten faces that she'll keep for life. Took her all of 5 minutes to adjust and fit right in with the rest. It did not take long to fall in love with Kelly
I only had her 2 months.... Where her collar was found were bits of Coyote fur as well, so I can safely say it was a Coyote that was her demise.
We have a serious Coyote problem in the local area. Even few deer or wild turkey left, since the exploding Coyote population has done them all in. I subsequently renewed my hunting license to thin out the coyote ranks.
Update: June 2007
I've renewed my Maine Hunting License again for 2007, for the express purpose of exterminating as many Coyote as possible. I realize it's the natural order of things.... but so isn't protecting the ones you've come to love.
Boo Sep 17, 2006
With two "vacancies", I found another little guy at the Humane Society of Knox County in Rockland, ME that also needed a good home. He was found alone & abandoned under a garage in Rockland, ME on July-24-2006 which would have made him about 5 weeks old at the time.
He got off to a rough start with another bad Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) which seems endemic to all animal shelters, but now his fortunes have indeed improved....
Named "Du" (pronounced "Dew") by the shelter, I find myself calling him Boo. So Boo it is !
Boo as of Nov 1, is now completely healthy & loves to play ! Not on the true bonding level of the former Boomer (that was a one in a million) , but I've become quite attached to him !
Unlike Boomer, Boo prefers the indoor life.....
He's such a bundle of energy;
now I have to go find him a "playmate" !
Merlin - Nov 11, 2006
Went to the shelter Veterans
Day only to find a playmate for Boo. Turns out, that Boo just
loves to play, but most of the others I've taken in are too old
to be bothered, since I often adopt older cats no one else
As expected, took Merlin all of 3 minutes to settle in to his new surroundings.
What was not expected however;
was that no fewer than 10 minutes later after his arrival, both
Merlin and Boo were "tear assing" up and down the hallway
in a great games of chase to be followed by playful bouts of wrestling
and tumbling in great furry balls together ! I recall telling Merlin on the
ride back, "You're going to like this place"....
Don't think he (or Boo for that matter who was told
the same thing) has ever had any reason to doubt the prophecy....
* * * * * * * Poncival and Merlin also have
developed quite a friendship. Constant play wrestling, interrupted
only by numerous nap times while their "batteries re-charge"
Merlin was always fascinated by
running water. Merlin can't wait to play with the running
water each morning when I wash my face. Kind of a weird
I recall telling Merlin on the ride back, "You're going to like this place".... Don't think he (or Boo for that matter who was told the same thing) has ever had any reason to doubt the prophecy....
* * * * * * *
Poncival and Merlin also have developed quite a friendship. Constant play wrestling, interrupted only by numerous nap times while their "batteries re-charge"
Merlin was always fascinated by running water. Merlin can't wait to play with the running water each morning when I wash my face. Kind of a weird behavior.......
Ankara - Nov 11, 2006 -
Despite being so sick, the two
of us hit it right off, and she quickly alighted atop my shoulder
and would not come down. Guess she decided, she had enough
of being in quarantine & wanted a home - "Kitty Plague" or not.
* * * * * * *
Sadly, Ankara came back positive
for exposure to the group of Corona Viruses of which FipV
was the most likely, based on other symptoms.
Sadly, she unexpectedly died in her sleep while at the Vet's...
Dec 1, 2006
Such a sin... Like poor Weymouth that was also adopted the same day, she finally gets a good home and falls prey to the FipV virus that also claimed Weymouth while at the shelter.
Weymouth - Nov 11, 2006
Weymouth was nothing but skin and bones when I first saw him. So thin that he looked like a kitten..
He was very weak & the shelter could not get him to eat. It was thought he had only a bad URI infection & good home might all be that was needed, once "unstressed" by shelter life & continuing on his antibiotics for a bad URI. Once out of the shelter, he would start eating & begin to improve.. That was the assumption, hope & plan... So, adopted him - set him up by the coal stove with a humidifier for his congestion, and gave him constant attention.
He would follow me everywhere the first 2 days, despite being so weak. He was such a loving little fellow... Didn't take long to fall in love with the little guy. He would purr - purr - purr & snuggle close, loving just to be held..... Like Boomer, Weymouth was something special....
But by the 2nd day I had him, it was clear he might have something far more serious than just a bad URI. He was clearly slipping... Took him to the Vet on 11-13. They took blood work, put him on IV fluids and loaded him up on more antibiotics. Meanwhile, I had to force feed him a small amount every hour just get get something in him.... The results of the blood work came back Nov 17.. He tested negative for Fiv but sadly positive for one of the Corona Viruses - most likely FipV, which is always fatal. Sadly, there is no cure for the FipV virus, and he had all the other tell-tale symptoms...
Weymouth went into convulsions about 5am. An emergency call to the vet brought Christine of Medomak Vet Services, out to the house to put him asleep at 5:32 am.
Losing Weymouth was especially hard..... No sooner had I'd fallen in love with him, than I'd lost him...
Doyle Nov 19, 2007
Only thing left as a tribute to Weymouth that is in my power, is to give good homes to two others of similar unfortunate circumstances. I suppose you could say that poor Weymouth lost everything so that two others could live.... I suppose that's the good that comes out of it.....
Doyle had been raised at the shelter since he was a kitten. Too bad..... as black cats are often passed over... merely based on the color of their fur & markings.....
Doyle is a little bundle of energy, who also plays to the point of sheer exhaustion with Boo, Poncival and Merlin.
Doyle almost seems part feral...
Doyle finally came entirely out of his shell ! He now spends all day playing with Poncival, Boo & Merlin... Non-stop action & even Jackson is now feeling better enough to start to join in.
Feb 1, 2007
Doyle went downhill rapidly and was diagnosed as yet another with FipV.
Doyle was sadly Euthanized Feb 5, 2007
Poncival and Merlin are the best of Pals. (Poncival is the one on top with his paw draped over Merlin, after both having collapsed from sheer exhaustion due to hours of strenuous play)
* * * * * * *
Turns out, Poncival loves to
play fetch. I tossed one of his favorite toys (A plastic ball
with a bell inside - the exact same that Memo loved to play fetch
with) down the hallway, and he promptly brings it back and drops
it next to my hand as if to say "give it another toss", so the fun
might continue. 20 or so tosses later, and each & every time
he prances back the hallway, and drops it right in front of me.
Guess it's not a fluke !
* * * * * * *
Poncival sleeps with me each night. He can never seem to get close enough ! He was adopted at the same time the others who succumbed to FipV.... As of June 2007, Poncival is now fully grown.. Looks like Poncival escaped its' ravages ....
Though free to come and go, Poncival prefers the indoor life...
Update: July, 72007
Poncival is healthy & active. At almost 13 lbs, he's a bit overweight. (Hard with 9 of them to put just one on a "diet")
I adopted Poncival about the same time as Ankara, Weymouth & Doyle - all of whom succumbed to FipV
Luckily it seems; Poncival so far, has "dodged the bullet"...
Jackson is well on the mend
and now has quite an appetite ! Clavimox
® is part the cure, but also
suspect his baking behind the coal stove for 2 days also had a lot
to do with it !
* * * * * * *
I suppose when one takes in sick cats from the shelter that no one else wants, it's occasionally to be expected. Doesn't make it any easier though.,..
In light of the poisoned Cat Food recall of early 2007, I now suspect Jackson might have been an early victim...
(Shelter name: Seoul) - Adopted Dec 22, 2006
Female - approx 4 years old when adopted
Kishka is feral. Yet both her and Lara (now renamed to Q-Tip) were shelter "pals". I wasn't even considering Kishka, but seemed a sin to break them up, so ended up adopting both.
Kishka's original shelter name was Seoul (Like North Korea).
My Mom had a similar looking Kitten whom she named Kishka. Thus for no other reason, Seoul became known as Kishka.
6 months later, and Kishka has just started to come around just a bit. She wants to be near, but still far too afraid of humans to allow even being approached. She'll probably always remain feral..
Thought I lost her when she escaped outside and didn't return for two days. Just when I thought she was a "gonner", who shows up but Kishka !
She may be feral, but feral or not; she now knows where her real home is !
Unlike a traditional "barn cat", she's got it pretty easy. She lives the indoor life. She plays with all the others and is quite social. "Normal" in all respects - just not trusting of humans.....
No matter... I have plenty of "lap - cats" and Kishka also needed a home... Chances of her being adopted by anyone else, seemed remote.
Update: 8-27-2007 1:30 am
Kiska unexpectedly gave birth to 5 healthy kittens !
(Shelter name: Lara) Adopted Dec 22, 2006
Female: approx 4 years old
With the passing of Jackson, I decided to take in another and Lara was another "hard Luck" case.... Far more socialized than Kishka, she had all the earmarks of being abused as a kitten & will cower in fear or bolt when you extend your hand.
In the same basket with Lara, was Kishka. I was never
expecting to take in Kishka, so that was one of those impulsive
Smudge - Adopted 7-7-2007
13 year old female when adopted
† Euthanized 12-26-2009 at approx 3am
Died of a possible brain tumor at the age of 15
Smudge was 13 years old when I adopted her. (already a "Senior Citizen")...... She has been at the shelter since Feb 2007. Like many of the others I took in, no one it seems wants older senior cats or cats that are sick... yet they are also in desperate needs of good homes... With the stress of shelter life & so many URI's during the winter months, few elderly cats survive beyond a year at any shelter...
Though she was quite stressed with the ride back from the shelter, Smudge settled right in within 2 hours..... The "Cat Veranda" has already firmly met with her approval ! .....
(Just wait til she discovers the virtues of curling up behind the wood/coal stove during the long cold Maine winters !)
Of all the elderly cats, I've taken in, I have yet to be disappointed. All have seemed to have keenly sensed what's been done for them & have displayed their affections appropriately.
I already have no doubt Smudge will be another.... She relishes attention !
Last night, there was great games of chase up and down the hallway at 3am - enough to awaken even me from a deep sleep ! The end of the game of chase always terminated by the final leap to the bed, where they'd wrestle & then "tear ass" back down the hallway again.... I was actually amazed to find that one of the participants in the game was Smudge ! .... I should be so fortunate to have that energy level when I'm 68 (equivalent in human years)...
Sprout - Adopted 7-7-2007
12 year old male when adopted.
Perhaps, one could surmise by this time that I tend to adopt those which otherwise stand little chance of being adopted.
Most visitors to the shelters it seems, desire healthy young kittens or young adults... The result being that cats such as Sprout or Smudge, almost always get passed over....
(Guess one could say I'm a "sucker" for hard luck cases)
Sprout arrived at the shelter in June of 2007 after his original owner had passed away... His name "Sprout" was given by his original owner, to which I surmise that "Sprout" implied that he was the runt of the litter.....
Sprout is highly socialized and adores the least bit of attention. He was obviously well loved & adored by his previous owner. Sadly, Sprout found his world turned upside own - abandoned, homeless & in need of medical attention.
Sad commentary: Apparently the owner's own offspring were more interested in their inheritances & estate assets, than they were in taking in Sprout. (Be absolutely certain to include pets in your will).
Though the first visit to the vet revealed an otherwise healthy status, Sprout does have a bad front incisor tooth which is obviously bothering him. He's scheduled for dental work 7-31-07.
Sprout had 2 teeth removed & is doing fine. He will "kill" for Pizza !
- - - - - - -
Sadly Sprout I thought was killed 6-2-2008 by another undetermined predator. His collar and bits of his fur were found next to it, but nothing else...
6-5-2008 I kept on calling him but knowing he had
been killed. In all other cases where the collar had been torn
off and bits of their fur found near it, it meant "end of the
line" for the cat, having tangled with a Coyote or Fisher..
Coming back from the mailbox today where he would always
follow, I called his name and spoke to him. Later while
searching for replacement light bulbs in the garage, I "asked"
if it wouldn't be something if Sprout would suddenly
appear - that would certainly be a sign. (Ok...
call me nuts...) 9:17 pm that same day, who should appear at the back door but Sprout......
5 New Kittens ! - Born 8-27-2007 1:30 am
At about 1:30 am I was alerted to high pitched cries. Thought at first it was someone hurt. Instead, Kishka had just given birth !
Kishka is feral and one cannot get close, so was never able to catch her to get spayed. Yet it was of little immediate concern,as (supposedly) all my male cats have been neutered. She did escape through a broken screen once and disappeared for two days, so a good chance, that's what happened.
Anyways they look like 4 little micro "Boomers" and 1 Micro "Barclay".
Only 4 shown here as one is very weak, being the "Runt of the Litter" and needs to be hand fed so he gets his "fair share". In light of his rough start in life, I've decided to name him TK (Tiny Kitten)
It's almost impossible to get good pictures of the all black ones, as they show only in "outlined" silhouettes !
Update 8-30-07: TK is reportedly now doing fine, being hand fed by Nikki at Medomak Vet Services.
Turns out, all 5 kittens are males !
Being littermates, they all get along splendidly. During their childhood years, it's been rough and tumble non-stop action around here.
When they were still tiny, after an exhausting time of play, all five could be found bunched together in one of the heated Kitty beds in a seemingly single mound of inter-twined fur, paws and tails.
(the orange kitten)
Born Aug 27,
2007 at 1:32 am
Micro is the orange kitten, here having a blast chasing one of his brothers.
Micro's kidneys had been destroyed immediately after having been neutered. He was hospitalized 5 separate times on IV fluids, but each time, even later administering Sub-Q fluids twice daily, it was impossible to keep him hydrated. He was also on Procrit for his anemia as well as a host of other medications to control the side effects of damaged kidneys. The battle was finally lost and the decision to have him euthanized was made after the vet saying there was no chance he would ever have a quality life, even if I could keep him alive.
I truly loved that little guy. For one who seldom "gives a crap" over most things in life, I already have cried buckets of tears.. I'm devastated to put it mildly... Unable to concentrate, not much will get done today or tomorrow....
Micro & TK
† Micro (orange) - † TK (black)
Both born Aug 27, 2007 at 1:32 am
Though all 5 kittens got along splendidly, Micro and TK were special pals. The two were inseparable. Both would "tear ass" up and down the hallway and have great games of chase. When exhausted, both would always "crash" together....
Micro was euthanized (12-17-2008) suffering from Kidney
Sadly, TK has been diagnosed also today with FipV which is always fatal. These were the two that I hand reared, so there was a special bond.. Two devastating events in one week.....
Ironically, this picture was taken 12-18-2008 - almost a year to the day before Micro was put to sleep....
Of the 18 here, I'll end up losing both of my favorites nearly at once....
Too short lives that should have been much longer...
Born Aug 27, 2007
With TK and Micro's passing, Tilly has now become the most active of the bunch.
Initially I thought Tilly was a female, and hence her (his) name. But turns out that Tilly was a guy... But the name stuck and he doesn't seem to mind.
Tilly is also the alarm cat who jumps heavily on my chest and licks my ears as a sign it's time to get up.
Born Aug 27, 2007
Another of the 5 kittens... Freebie is also a little terror, but is quickly growing into a larger terror...
Always looking for something to do.
When he wants attention such as a neck massage or chin rub, he expects you will drop whatever you're doing and will not take no for an answer... The only solution is to either appease him or lock him in another room. But he also hates being locked in and becomes quite vocal about his displeasure. It's usually easier in the long run just to give him what he wants
Born Aug 27, 2007
Bean is the adventurer of the gang. Loves climbing trees to survey all his domain.
He also has one of those charming personalities.
A high energy little guy, he has two operating modes: on and off. There is no idle or cruise setting...
Grace - Adopted 12-22-2007
3 Year Old Female when adopted
Not just the kids lose in a divorce - often times the pets do also, and have no idea what is happening to them. Grace was upset at shelter life and had started compulsively licking herself to the point of licking the fur off her one side.
No one else wanted Grace it seemed - especially with her compulsive licking disorder, as she was always being passed over.
Ever the sucker for hard luck cases, I adopted Grace.
Hopefully in a far less stressful home environment, she'll lose the compulsive licking now having more entertaining things to do .......
Grace's compulsive licking disorder is all but gone. She loves going outdoors in the outside fenced in area to do her "cat things", such as hunt and explore the deep grass out in the pasture. Though I'm certain she would prefer to be in a one cat household, this place here seems to be her only next best option (or more accurately: her only other option).
Currently, she stakes out the area beside the computer monitor as her own when I'm at the computer, and then the computer chair when I'm elsewhere....... Perhaps instead of her given name, I should have re-named her XP, since she always wants to be near the computer.
Adopted May 17, 2008
Hobo was a stray that showed up at the door.. After being neutered he ran a high fever and had inflammation of all his joints to the point of not being able to walk. After several months it got so bad that he could not make it to the food dish. His vets were stumped and had all but given up.
Turns out, Hobo is also FIV positive. I really thought it was "curtains" for Hobo, but I guessed wrong.....
All the tests suggested he had feline lupus...
I ended up taking him to a holistic vet who took one look and put him on Transfer Factor... Within 3 days a noticeable improvement, and in 1 months not even trace of the fever and inflammation of his joints.
Though Fiv positive, today he is the picture of health.
Adopted Oct 10, 2008
Socks was another stray that showed up.... He loves attention but ironically is not a lap cat. Seems he likes attention, but only on his terms. Whenever walking by, he'll reach out to let you know he wants a chin scratch.
Socks is another one that sleeps with me..
Adopted Jan 15, 2009
Hannaford was another stray that turned up during the dead of winter... He was sleeping out in the barn but was too skittish to allow me to get close. The coldest night it dipped to 26 below... Too cold and I worried about him. Finally got him trapped 3 days later..
sleeps with me every night... He just loves any attention you give him... Hannaford is something special !
Adopted Sept 12, 2009
Kitty had been hanging around for about 2 months and finally was brave enough to venture in to the garage. Turns out he is not feral, but well socialized. No collar and not chipped, but he was neutered, so seems he was someone's pet at some point... Either lost or abandoned - who knows... Being homeless with winter coming on, I decided to adopt him.. What's one more at this stage !
Kitty has a piece of his left ear missing and notched... My guess is that it's from a trap, neuter and release program... Anyways, Kitty is one of the "Alarm Cats" who's self assigned duty it seems is to get me up in the morning. He's also fascinated by running water...
Tibbs - Toopie
Taken In Oct 2009
Tibbs (shelter name Toopie) was approximately 12 years old according to the vet... Tibbs started hanging around here August of 2009... Come October 2009 when the cold weather was upon us, Tibbs decided that the accommodations here were much more to his liking.. Heated cat beds - Coal stove - nightly turkey treats etc.. I placed a collar on him and sent him home but he kept on returning and by the 3rd time, he decided he was staying...
Tibbs started having trouble walking - so off to the vet.. X-rays revealed nothing. But he was given a steroid shot and antibiotics by the vet for lack of anything else to do.. About 10 days later, he developed a severe infection. He was put on Baytril, but it did no good. His blood work showed severe anemia. Sadly, Tibbs had to be euthanized...
Tibbs - Toopie was a lap cat and would curl up with me every night on the couch. He will be deeply missed....
Adopted Feb 12, 2010
Romie was his original shelter name admitted to the shelter Jan 31, 2010. He was a Thomaston stray, so no other info is available... I'm guessing his age to be about 12 years old. Highly socialized, he was someone's pet at one point, but he was never neutered... Chances of him finding a home didn't look all that promising, so when the shelter called knowing I was looking for a large male orange tabby to serve as Barclay's replacement, Romie fit the bill !
Having just been neutered 2 days ago and his world just turned upside down, he doesn't look all that content at the moment... That will change soon ! Rotisserie chicken is on the menu this evening. That should perk up his spirits a bit ! (maybe not such a bad place after all ! )
Update: Barclay would always cower when reaching out to pet him. I can only surmise he was abused at some point. Anyways, now he associates a hand extending towards him with receiving a chin scratch... Now curls up to watch TV with me every night and will turn his head and gaze into my eyes when he wants more chin scratches..
Adopted June 4, 2010
Cupcake was admitted to the shelter in Dec 2008. She is an 8 year old female long hair Tortie that was turned into the shelter as a stray
She is highly socialized and quite mellow.. She slept in the carrier all the way back from the shelter.. The first evening, she curled up on the couch and enjoyed a good brushing... She does not appear to need any "settling in" time and for whatever reason, she's been accepted by all the others here instantly.. Like I just said: hard to figure out why she was always passed over.
Jibbit was a stray and had been living at the shelter for 3 years, always being passed over.. A good part of the reason is that she is very timid bordering on being feral.
3 Years is far too long to be passed over... so add one more !
She sometimes let me pet her if I corner her in her safe closet, but other times, she always runs off and hides... She's slowly warming up, but it might be some time before she feels brave enough to come out..
No matter: she needs a home too....
Update: March 2011: Jibbet now comes out to the living room and lets me pet her, but only on HER terms. She loves attention.. Can't pick her up yet, but a lot of progress made.
Adopted (officially) 5-25-2011
Barnstable had been living in my neighbors basement for 2 months. We finally managed to catch him.. He is an un-neutered male with no collar. Neither did he have a chip. No newspaper ads for a missing cat meeting his description... That can only mean he's homeless, lost or abandoned with an owner that doesn't care. I recall seeing him once or twice this past summer, so he's been homeless for some time...
So I took in yet another... Barnstable is highly socialized and loves to be petted. He fit right in and was quickly accepted by the others. Now he has a home again...
Barnstable has a urinary tract infection as of 5-25-2011 Guess the incurring of steep Vet Bills makes it official: he now has been officially adopted and has a real home..
With so many lost to Coyotes over the years, the cats here are no longer left to freely roam. They now have an electric fenced in area to keep both them in, and the coyotes out... Since installing the fence, I have not lost one to the local predators.
News Flash !
... or at least the original News Flash - Maybe not so New !
Aug 27, 2007 1:32am: Kishka gave birth to 5 kittens ! 4 pure all black ones & one orange/white... What better opportunity to share the excitement of 5 new kittens !
Click the above image to go to the flash Movie
The Flash Movie will open in another window which you can re-size. Click Play to start it !
Please be patient while it loads !
(To view this movie in Internet Explorer requires allowing ActiveX Controls
and having installed the Flash Player )
TK needs to be supplemented with hand feeding
"Micro Barclay" now has his eyes open. Only 13 days old when this video was shot & already purring and just loves chin scratches !
Micro was always the little Hellion. Here almost as if he's laughing with glee - obviously having a blast chasing TK - one of his brothers.
By the time he was only 3 days old, he already figured out that he loved chin scratches.
Micro has always been a little charmer.
† Euthanized Dec 17, 2008 10:55am - Kidney Failure
Sadly after being neutered, Micro never recovered and is in Chronic Renal Failure - the most likely cause being the victim of being given Metacam (an Non Steroid Anti Inflammatory Drug for pain control). Some cats have a strong negative reaction to the drug, with irreversible kidney damage being the result. Whether it was Metacam or not, I have no idea, but seems to be the most logical explanation.
Naturally, I am heartbroken. He's at the edge and could go either way, but I have him on daily subcutaneous fluids, and a host of other medications to control his ulcers, acidosis, anemia, and mineral deficiencies.
A long shot perhaps, but am hoping he can be pulled back from the edge to afford him a little more time with a quality life.
Update: Sadly, Micro was
He will always be loved.....
This is not the way his life (or what little may be left of it) should have turned out...
Metacam is also sold under the names of Meloxicam® (the actual active ingredient in Metacam®) and Mobic ® for human use. The active ingredient in both is Meloxicam.
Read more on what can happen if your cat is exposed to even so much as a single dose. There are many references on the web about the dangers of Metacam, Meloxicam and Mobic.
If that fails to dissuade you from taking the risk, then consider the FDA's own report on the side effects and dangers of meloxicam. One has to do a little "digging" though... The list of possible side effects, reads like a "List from Medical Hell"..... Here's a partial list if the FDA document proves too, lengthy to read and digest...
What are the possible side effects of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID's)?
Serious side effects include:
heart attack - stroke - high blood pressure - heart failure from body swelling (fluid retention) - kidney problems including kidney failure - bleeding and ulcers in the stomach and intestine - low red blood cells (anemia) - life-threatening skin reactions - life-threatening allergic reactions - liver problems including liver failure
Nice, Huh ???
Still not convinced ? Even the manufacturer of the drug cautions on it's use...http://www.bi-vetmedica.com/
I am not a Vet, so I suppose you could take this with a grain of salt so to speak. But being an engineer by trade, I do have the capacity to read, research and reason. Do what you will, but I know that I will never again allow any of the cats here to be exposed to Metacam. Probably sound advice for any NSAID drug assuming the FDA can be believed.
True; that chances of a negative reaction would seem to be rare. Just beware that you might be playing "Russian Roulette" with your pet's life.
FIV Positive Cats
Have a cat diagnosed as FIV positive and your vet advises to "put him down" ?
Think again ! It need not be a death sentence... Quite the contrary...
All Kittens need to be socialized, so they never become afraid of their human companions. In that sense, they are no different than human children, in that they must develop in a non-stressful environment where they are well nurtured and cared for by both their feline Mother as well as human guardian. It's kind of a "team effort"..... Since in this case Kishka is feral, it's especially important they learn that humans are also their caregivers. As in our own species, most bondings come about thru play & being held & touched.... My personal opinion; but playtime is perhaps most important. Playtime develops their full trust , in that however you handle them will never be construed as being a threat. Thus socializing kittens has to be not only one of the most rewarding and fun things you could do over your lifetime, but also one of the easiest !
Kittens by their very nature love to play games of chase - wrestling & games of "hunting". All you have to do is provide them their own stress free protected room, and about 30 to 60 minutes of your time each day. Though only tiny kittens, they are not stupid and will quickly associate you not only as a nurturing provider of food & shelter, but also as a fellow playmate. It won't take long before a lifelong bond is formed.
Kishka's New Kittens !
Born August 27, 2007 1:32am
4 of the 5 kittens were strong and healthy.
TK in the foreground, was too weak to compete for his fair share. Within only one day, he became so weak I wasn't sure he would survive, so barely over a day old and off to the vet with him.
He was so weak, that I thought they might recommend euthanizing him.
I named him TK for "Tiny Kitten"
|Nikki & TK
Sept 4, 2007
Some things are meant to be, and here TK had found his "Guardian Angel" in the form of Nikki Coccoluto at Medomak Vet Services who graciously offered to hand feed him to get him back on his feet.
TK has now put on weight (5.2 oz) and now has the energy to get his "fair share" of Mama's milk. I brought him back home today (9-4-2007)... I'll monitor him closely to make certain he's holding his own, but looks like he now has a good shot at a long life.
Seems TK is destined to live, and when a situation arises that jeopardizes that plan, forces converge to insure the plan will be followed. Thus "Guardian Angel" might be much more than just a phrase... Who's to know......
Interesting witnessing Synchronicity in action.....
|TK Today: Dec 21, 2007
Nikki with TK at Medomak Vet Services who's loving care gave him a shot at life.
TK's 2nd visit to the vet, this time just for routine shots and general checkup. No longer the "runt of the litter", TK is still small but was also the first to be weaned.
Today, he's one of my favorites and just loves to
play and wrestle... He's now just a bundle of energy ! Some heart breaks over the years from ones I couldn't save, but
so far TK has been a miraculous success story !
I shall forever be grateful to Nikki who allowed him
a wonderful if not short life.
Latest "addition" July 7, 2007 - Smudge and Sprout - both elderly cats - 13 and 12 years old respectively. HSKC
Dec 22, 2007 - Grace - adopted from the Humane Society of Knox County (HSKC) - Rockland, Maine
One might ask where I often "find" my fellow family members....
I haven't the writing skills to put into words, the dedication
of the staff and other supporters, to helping injured, sick, injured,
abandoned & lost animals, so I won't even attempt it...
It's a "No Kill" shelter, where an unfortunate soul is not "put down" for simple lack of space. Anyone with a potential "shot" for life, is afforded a chance... Local Vets and volunteers donate their time to give even the very sick and injured a chance for a good home. Even so, the expenses of medication and other care needs, makes financial support necessary.
Even if you reside on the other side of the planet and never will have the opportunity to visit, it is an organization most worthy of your support.
Can't adopt or live to far away so as to make a visit to the
shelter impractical ?
Then offer to sponsor one of the shelters' cats or dogs, until such time as they are adopted.
Other less obvious ways of helping, is to support those Vets & businesses that freely donate of their time. ("Actions speak louder than words" - as my Grandmother always said).
Most of us that adopt, look forward to emailing updated pictures and stories on how your formerly sponsored "kids" are doing !
Often more can come out of a sponsorship than you could possibly imagine !
When you donate to this shelter, where does your money go ?
Find out by checking out this video tribute to the Humane Society of Knox County Maine
More Working and "Hard at Rest" Pictures plus observations
|Skrunchy - Summer
Always curious, she spent the entire day checking out the excavator while the new farm pond was being dug. Come 10 pm, she was still there taking it all in.
|Jenny - Baxter
& Barclay (left to right)
Don't recall the fascination - must have been a squirrel
I've had many cats over the years, but Merlin is the only one who loves watching TV on a consistent basis.... Not just because there are moving images, but seems that he actually comprehends the content.
It's clear that there are only certain programs he likes.
He's not "in" to sitcoms, movies or even the Science Channel.... Those evoke no interest whatsoever.
Instead, he only watches Animal Planet & America's Funniest Animals in particular, where other animals are the "stars".
Once he hears the opening jingle, he comes running to obtain a front row seat ! Apparently he comprehends not only the images, but also recognizes audio cues as well..
He will sit mesmerized until (his) program ends.... (I've never witnessed anything like it before)......
I thought at first it was a fluke, where any image with movement, might trigger the natural "hunter" response endemic to all felines........ I've had many cats over the years that would occasionally appear to be watching TV, when instead, it was only the motion that triggered a response.. But this is different....
Now I'm convinced after observing for weeks, that Merlin actually has some level of comprehension, far beyond any "pre-programmed" instinctive response, since it's only certain programs that captures & holds his attention.
If something he's really interested in, he'll move closer to take it all in, and will continue intently watching until the program ends or there's a commercial break - at which time, he loses interest again. (Unless of course... it's a Cat Food Commercial).
(Here it would seem he has a keen interest in aviation or more likely, trying to figure out what the dog is up to)
Certain ones seem to exhibit a much deeper understanding of their environment, than what we might initially surmise. With that said: I'd love to know what he's thinking.....
Anyways; once his show is over, everything's pretty much back to normal behavior..... Only certain programs "starring" other animals seem to arouse his interest....
I'm still not sure what to make of it.......
Any open box, and Sara will quickly claim it as her own.
With a love of boxes to nap in, she must feel like she's in "cat heaven" around here..
Of the other 19 here, Sara is the most adventuresome of the lot, and the one who prefers most to be outside. Ironically, she is the only one with a heart murmur, due to a rough start in life.
Murmur or not, I find myself referring to her as "Turbo Kitty"... If this is the side effect of a heart murmur, think I'll ask my neighbor Doctor what I have to do to get one !
I worry about her being outside so much, but she loves to hunt & explore the open fields, pasture and woods that extends for miles around this place.
Would seem a sin to keep her inside.....
Sara finally figured out the door latch !
For several days, she'd sit and watch exactly how it was done. No attempt to go out which I thought odd... She just sat and intently focused on how I did it.... I thought her behavior very strange at first... In retrospect: seems obvious now "she was formulating a plan...."
She experimented for several more days, first by jumping from the floor trying to reach it. Though not effective, she clearly had figured out what the latch was for.
The real breakthrough didn't come til a week or so later, when she found it much easier to access the latch from atop the printer and then discovered it opened instead with a simple push.
Having uncovered the final secret, she opens it just as easily as I do... No "fumbling".... Just one single stretch, push and jump, and she's secured her freedom.....
Easy as 1... 2... 3... !
I grabbed this picture, documenting the first critical step in how how she does it...
Think they're just "stupid cats" with not even any feelings , emotions or ability to reason ? Better think again !
As evidenced here, they have the power to observe, reason, learn, and act - - - based on their understanding
of the physical world and how things actually work.
Too bad the same couldn't be said of our elected officials !
Winkle the Bull and Boo Checking one another out.
Aug 7, 2009
Winkle is my neighbor's Bull in charge of keeping the lawn here "mowed" and fertilized along with Maggie the cow.
Winkle and Boo must have spent a good half hour just gazing at one another...
I wonder what they must be thinking or possibly even communicating ?
Whatever the interest, it obviously warrants a closer look by Winkle.
Both were literally "nose to nose" thru the fence several minutes later, but it was one of those fleeting magical moments.... and by the time I grabbed the camera again, I just missed getting a picture of it...
Bonding is not reserved solely between identical species or between just us and our pets, it also occurs across different species.
Who knows what dynamic is taking place here... but first impression is that Boo and Winkle have just become pals....
(Toopie) - Tibbs
Theresa at the shelter sent me this of Toupee...
Toupee was a little charmer. Hard to explain what it was about him, but you couldn't help but love the little character... Perhaps this picture conveys part of whatever it was that he had about him...
Photo Courtesy of Theresa at the Humane Society of Knox County - Thomaston, ME
With 3 of them being excellent "mousers", we always
have to check packages ready to ship for "finished off" mice and mis-placed
(Kinda like kids that don't pick up after themselves !)
Check out some other Working Company Cat Sites
Warbird Bob http://www.warbirdbob.com/index.html
Aaron's Bicycle Repair Seattle WA - Presta & Schrader http://www.rideyourbike.com/index.html
Spencer Public Library - Dewey http://www.spencerlibrary.com/deweybio.htm
Algonquin Hotel NYC - Matilda http://www.algonquinhotel.com/algonquin-cat
Note: You must have java installed for these...
Here it is the first of the year 2010, and the company just
purchased a slow motion camera. The purpose for getting it had nothing
to do with slow motion studies of cats, but rather as a diagnostic tool for other equiment.
Click on the images to view the QuickTime movies
The drinking movie will open in a new window - be patient while it loads ! - There is no live ambient audio for slow motion movies.
Freebie taking a drink - shot at 300 fps (47 sec - 8.2Mb)
Anyways, the very first test of it was to take
some slow motion
footage of one of our puddy's drinking water from a bowl... Contrary to what most folks assume, the cat's tongue extends quite far
and instead of curling the end of it's tongue upward, it curls it's tongue inward and scoops the water in on the back side of it's tongue.
The action happens so fast that our eyes can't see it, but taking footage shot at 300 frames per second and then observing the action
at 30 frames per second, slows the action down by a factor of ten, making it easy to see ! A black cat is nearly impossible to light,
but this will have to do for the first attempt until one of the other lighter color cats decides to cooperate !
This movie will open in a new window....
Sara shot at 300 fps (33 sec - 4.2Mb)
Next is more Slow Motion of Sara scaling the Electric Fence... Their
true gracefulness can sometimes only be captured
using a slow motion camera.... The fence is 4 ft high.... Now Sara is a good jumper and has no problem making one
leap to the top of the refrigerator which is 5'8" from the floor with apparently little effort... What's interesting is that
the fence is only 4ft tall. She could clear it with plenty of room to spare, yet she uses just enough energy to literally just brush
it... every time ! Before she leaps, she pauses as if calculating the angles and desired trajectory.
Note how she taps it with her right paw as she goes over as if to check that her hind legs will also make
it over. Also note how she controls her tail with perfect timing to "loop" it over the net....
Pretty amazing creatures ! Of course Sara is the one whom I refer to as the "Little Houdini".
Sara again. This time shot at 600 fps ( 47 sec - 4.5Mb)
Running a mini shelter now with 20 cats, doesn't take long for the litter boxes to get used and keeping litter boxes clean is a twice a day ritual.
I just completed the process of reviewing litters again.. Being currently reviewed are (in no particular order): Scoop Away, Fresh Step, Cats Pride, Worlds Best Cat Litter, Simplicity Plus, Equisicat, Arm & Hammer Multi-Cat, Tidy Cats, Premium Choice, Feline Pine, Good Mews, and SWheat Scoop. All of them are clumping litters, with the exception of Good Mews.
The views are my own, and others may use different metrics in rating litters...
How the litters are rated:
Unlike most reviews, I do not rate litters on the amount of chemicals they contain for odor control.
As far as odor control is concerned, the best odor control is finding a litter that fully encapsulates the waste and keeping the boxes scooped out and clean, so the cats will use them ! That no matter what manufacturers' claims about odor control additives, keeping the litter clean is 99.9% of the odor battle... Many litters use strong deodorants to mask the odor, effectively attempting to treat the symptom, and not the products fundamental problem of inadequate clumping and encapsulation of the least amount of dampness. Consider that cats have a smell sensitivity 20 times that of us humans. What we may sense as being a light pleasant added fragrance, most cats will find overpowering, obnoxious and a major revolting turn off... What ever perceived benefit might have been gained by odor control additives, can be instantly wiped out by just one cat searching for a better place to do their business, that to them doesn't smell like a revolting chemical factory, even with fresh new litter.... Which one of us hasn't stopped at roadside rest area that had only portable toilets, and were revolted by the strong disinfectant smell ? (enough to knock over a horse at 50 feet ! )... Cats are no different ! - - - I often wonder if any of the litter manufacturers' even have cats or have even cleaned out a litter box ! I'm beginning to think not... sorry: I digress...
In any event, the review mostly focuses on a litter's ability to be easily scooped and what remains to be fresh, with no cleanup of the scoop or sidewalls/bottom afterwards... Second is the degree of bio-degradability and safety for kittens. Can't stress it enough, but keeping the litter boxes scooped out and with clean litter is the best odor control strategy you can employ. All that's needed then is a good clumping litter that encapsulates the least amount of dampness and locks in the odor til you scoop it out. Not all litters have the ability to clump and fully encapsulate the least amount of dampness though.... Not surprisingly, those are often the ones with the most odor control additives ! ( and for good reason.....)
Of the 12 litters tried, here are the results....
1 Blue Seal Egg Maker Crumbles
Though billed as "Chicken Feed", it's nothing more than cracked corn - basically the same as The World's Best Cat Litter. It performs almost the same.. Not quite the same clumping attributes, but close enough that it is a mute point.
What propelled this product to the number one spot for cat litters here, is it's clumping abilities, being completely biodegradable, no toxic odor control additives so it could even be safely ingested by kittens, as well as the price. That's a tough combination to beat !
50 lbs of Blue Seal Egg Maker Crumbles costs $14 here in Maine in one bag quantities at the local food store... (About $10 a bag in pallet quantities)... That is less than a third of what the WBCL costs when you figure in shipping...
Egg Maker Crumbles is the cat litter of choice here... It's attributes are identical to the #2 litter..
2 World Best Cat Litter (WBCL)
Name seems appropriate...... Light in weight, and a large plastic shovel will glide thru it. Super absorbent with no soaked clay "mud" that clings to the sides and scoop.... The easiest and cleanest of all the litters to scoop since it clumps and encapsulates the least amount of dampness. Also, being made solely from cracked corn, there are no harmful odor controlling additives that could be harmful if ingested or inhaled.... It encapsulates so well, that it's simply not required.... It's biodegradable, whereas clay lasts forever.... Only minor downside is that because of it's light weight, it tracks a bit more than the heavier clay litters. But that can be mostly negated or at least greatly reduced by an anti litter tracking pad next to it. Not recommended for very young kittens, since where it's corn, some will think at first that it's a giant food tray and attempt to eat it. (It has, not surprisingly, a natural, pleasant corn scent - and perhaps even taste (although have to admit that I never sampled or rated it for its taste - yet anyways)).... A lot safer than ingesting clay and the chemical deodorants used in many, but nevertheless, something to consider.
After reviewing all the others, WBCL remains our number two choice. It would take the #1 position if it weren't for it's price...
3 Feline Pine Scoop-able
Almost tied for the #1 position... Super absorbent and clumps to the least amount of moisture leaving no sticky "mud" to be scraped out .... It's natural pine scent, offers excellent and natural odor control. A lot harder to sift than WBCL since it is so light in weight, which is the major complaint. The other issue is that due to it's exceptional light weight, it easily tracks everywhere... Your vacuum will get a daily workout..... Had it not been for difficulty in sifting and being easily tracked everywhere, it would have beat out WBCL... But even so, it still takes 3rd place...
Made from wheat, it is also biodegradable.... Very similar in performance to Crumbles, WBCL and Feline Pine.... Occasionally leaves a small amount of sticky residue behind, but nothing like any of the clay based litters.
5 Arm & Hammer Multi-Cat
Thought with such brand name recognition and excellent reviews (who knows: perhaps some by Arm & Hammers' marketing dept itself), I thought it would perform a lot better than it did.... But so far, I found it only marginally better. The clay when damp, turns to mud (if you get my drift) and clings to everything. Plan on Heavy digging thru this litter... You're gonna need a rugged metal scoop.... and be prepared to clean it at the end... Also be prepared to breathe in clay dust when shoveling and sifting - the stuff is dusty l.... I don't mind dust per se in light of burning coal etc, but neither do I desire to breathe in the cloud that ensues when your sifting it thru the poop scoop.... (even I have limits...) You'll need a sturdy metal scoop to deal with this litter... On the plus side, it does clump well and has excellent odor control... I rate it #1 of all the clay based litters
6 Tidy Cats Scoop-able
With no other reviews or mention in most on line reviews for this litter, I would have initially thought this litter would have ranked low on the list. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised !
A lot heavier to scoop than the corn, wheat or pine based products, since it's clay based, but it's absorbent & clumps hard .... It flows easily out the scoop, so there's no "digging" and virtually no sifting action required. It pours thru the scoop as does sand thru an hourglass ! (Very little if any sifting required !) Only problem is that it still leaves a muddy sticky mess on the bottom of the pan that takes a lot of force to scrape out and it does not clump as well as it should... A sturdy metal scoop is highly recommended to dig out the "sludge".
7. Premium Choice
Similar in performance to litters ranked 8-11 below. What ranked this above those was its price. It was by far the cheapest of the entire lot. (less than half the cost of the WBCL...) Not as dusty as the Arm & Hammer, but scooping out the sticky clumps is difficult.... Much better than any of the non-scoop-able clay litters and perhaps even cheaper than those in the long run. Just be prepared to have to clean off some of the muddy poop left behind on the scoop and sidewalls after you're done.... You will definitely need a rugged solid metal scoop to handle this heavy litter... But if on a tight budget and you don't mind a little more work, this would be an economical choice...
8-11 Scoop Away - Fresh Step - Cats Pride - Simplicity Plus & Equisicat
So similar in performance, that for reviewing purposes, all can be clumped together (no pun intended). Similar to Arm & Hammer in terms of it clumping and encapsulation. All require dealing with the muddy mess....
Not a clumping scoop able litter, as it's made from recycled newspapers. Reasonably absorbent and biodegradable.
Whatever litter you use, a good quality metal scoop such as the Dura Scoop will make your scooping life much easier, plus it's virtually indestructible.... http://www.durascoop.com/
For Litter Boxes: We found the Petmate Giant Litter Box the best for multi-cat households. http://www.petmate.com/Products/Giant-Litter-Pan__22040.aspx As it's name implies, it's huge (measures 34.6" x 19.7" x 10". The tub itself measures 26" L x 17" W x 9" High) with high sides to prevent misses and litter being tossed over the sides by aggressive digging and covering up activity by the more prissy of your little fur balls... Comes with 2 molded in compartments for scooping tool storage or whatever. Ideal, especially for multi cat households. Sounds like an ad for them, but with smooth sides and bottom, it's easy to clean. At about $20 ea depending on where you buy it, it's more than the cheaper and flimsier boxes, but consider also that it should last a lifetime. That combined with a good litter, and your cats will think they are in litter box heaven.... About the best way to explain it is that it represents (to a cat anyways) the difference between an outhouse and toilet. If space is a consideration, go with the largest box that will fit... Litter lasts longer, there will be far fewer "misses", you will have to scoop less often and do a complete litter change less often... One of the cases in life where Bigger is Better. The additional cost will be more than made up in reduced litter and other cleaning costs... It will prove to be cheaper in the long run....
Speaking of which, I just received a new Cat Genie that I'll be reviewing soon after I (and naturally the cats who are as always the real reviewers) have some experience with it...... If the cats could type, they'd be doing this review, but since they can't (at least as far as spelling is concerned) that means I get to do it.........
Chicken Feed Crumbles, WBCL or Feline Pine .... Because of their excellent absorbency and final clumping layer that even encapsulates the least bit of dampness, what remains behind is virtually fresh (or pretty close to it)... If the puddy's in the rare instance prefer a Clay based litter, then Arm & Hammer's Multi-Cat I've found to be the best ..
For multiple cat households: Then give them a choice of 2 litters.... Corn/Wheat or Pine....
* The views expressed herein, are based on our own personal experiences with the products, and may not be representative as that of others.
Undoubtedly, the best pet locator system available - bar none !
(Read: This system works exactly as described with a full 1 mile range - at least here in the country !)
With so many cats to keep track of, I finally "broke down" and ordered radio transmitter collars for each of them and a receiver. As advertised, range is just about 1 mile.
Highly recommended for anyone with pets they value !
Note: the Com-Spec Cat locator transmitting collars operate in the amateur radio band 222 to 225 mHz. As such, you must possess a valid FCC Technician Class or higher Amateur Radio operator license to legally use the collars for transmitting... Fines if caught for operating a transmitter in these frequency bands without a license can be steep if not outright obscene.
Trying to locate and keep track of our "hard working" 20 Company Cats around here, was almost an impossible task before acquiring the Cat Locator. The Cat Locator solves all that, by way of radio transmitting collars that transmit a "ping" about once every second, on any of 100 channels and picked up on a portable handheld Radio Direction Finder. The receiver will track up to 100 pets or anything else you want to locate for that matter....
Voila ! - No more lost cats or hours wasted worrying and trying to locate them... or merely to check to see if they're "sluffing off" from their assigned duties, as every one of them has one of these transmitting collars. Plus, it's also Great Fun discovering all their secret hiding places ! None of our cats mind the collars, though kittens should perhaps be at least 5 to 6 months old before large enough to comfortably wear one.
This product works as advertised with a solid 1 mile range here in the country with a "clear shot" across open fields. Even in dense woods under far less than ideal conditions, it's still at least a solid 1/2 mile ! Effective range in metropolitan areas could be significantly less though I have no experience of using the device in such environments. Transmitters operate continuously for about 1 month on a single inexpensive CR-2032 "button" battery that can commonly found even at your local drug, hardware store or supermarket. A nice feature is that the transmitters emit a "double ping" when there are only several days of battery life left !
The PR-100 receiver uses a single, commonly available 9v battery , allowing up to 10 hrs of continuous operation. The case is a very rugged aluminum and not made of cheap plastic. A main benefit of a metal case other than it's ruggedness, is that it affords much better shielding from external sources of rf interference... It's main feature however, is it's phenomenal sensitivity (-150 dB). For close range, the receiver has a built in 3 position attenuator switch to prevent over loading when operating in close proximity to a transmitting collar. The receiver also has a standard earphone jack which bypasses the built in speaker when an earphone is plugged in (very useful when operating from a car).
The supplied directional yagi and omni-directional antennas mount by a standard BNC twist on connector that will also accept any external antenna such as a car mounted antenna or even a very high gain roof antenna with a rotor (which can really extend the range !). The roof mounted yagi will pull out distant pings where the handheld antenna will not, where the Puddy has wandered out of normal range. That technique gives you an initial direction to head in. This beam I use here is a Cushcraft 225WB 15 element Yagi that has a 15.5 dB gain. Highly directional, it will zero in to within +/- 10 degrees. Definitely not necessary to have a roof mounted beam, but using one can allow up to nearly 3 miles or more in range depending on the terrain and obstructions.
Just enter any one of the 100 channels and walk in the direction from which the strongest signal is received. Takes a little practice learning how to recognize misleading reflections, since the transmitters operate at around 220 MHz, but once you've mastered that, you'll have the little fur-ball located in matter of minutes. Works equally as well for finding them inside the house... (Like when they magically "vaporize" just before their scheduled visit to the Vet).
The transmitter cases are waterproof (a mandatory requirement for all outside cats) and virtually indestructible. The breakaway plastic safety clasps on the collars occasionally break, but instead of replacing the entire collar with the transmitter, you can just purchase the much less expensive replacement straps and swap out the original transmitter. Com-Spec has done their homework on this product.
Working from a car with an external roof omni-directional antenna, you can cover an entire town in a matter of a few hours should they really have wandered far !
Here is one simple inexpensive solution used by Gary of Discinterchange.com that uses the supplied omni-directional antenna that comes with the receiver and mounted via two tie wraps to a scrap piece of pvc pipe (courtesy of the local dump). It need not be elaborate to work like a charm ! Range is about 1/4 mile with this setup, but within a few minutes one can cover a half mile wide swath extending a mile down the road in a matter of a few minutes. Use of an earphone reduces background road noise and once a ping is detected, then mount the handheld directional antenna with a simple twist of the bnc connector, and home in on the little fur ball...
For mobile use in hilly or mountainous terrain, consider a Niljon Super M ($79.95) attached to a Larsen NMO-MM Magnetic Roof Mount. Both available from http://www.universal-radio.com/ (also another cat friendly site). The Super M's unique design is dual polarized to provide a big signal at the horizon and out of the valley with reduced flutter and "picket-fencing". Range with that antenna setup from a car is just under a half a mile.
They also have collars for dogs or a small clip-on transmitter for almost any application.. (like the car keys you're always losing for example). Another popular use is to keep track of Alzheimer's patients. Though billed as the Cat Locator, its uses are limited only by your imagination !
If you have small pets, this works as advertised & is well worth it. Here in "Coyote Country", the ability to find one of our wandering felines has no doubt saved many a life.... Aside from that , considering all the thousands of hours wasted searching for lost cats over the years, and with 18 adopted cats here now , we could no longer live without the technology !
The Cat Locator
Update: The cat loCATor ® is again available for sale in the United States.....
The new collars have even better range and the design now incorporates an improved weatherproof case that screws on and uses an o-ring, making it virtually waterproof. As a side benefit, the new collars no longer require batteries with pull tabs and standard CR-2032 will fit nicely. The units have an improved antenna woven into the collar and a screw that makes replacing a damaged or worn out collar a snap. Owing to a slightly better antenna design on the collars, we found the new collars have a slightly improved range (about 1.2 miles) here in the open country .
Note: The Loc8tor uses very low power and operates in the 2.4 gHz band. Unlike the Com-Spec system above, No FCC License is required in the US
The Loc8tor ® from Loc8tor Limited in the United Kingdom, is another alternative. This model is legal to purchase in the United States !
Transmitter Tag batteries last on average about 9 months and transmitters operate in the 2.4 GHz band. The receiver is much smaller than the loCATor ® above, has a small antenna built in to the sliding cover and is much easier to use and carry. (That's the good news !)
We ordered the loc8tor and 4 tags for locating our indoor cats as well as car keys and wireless headset I'm always "losing"..... and finally had time to evaluate it.
The first disappointment was that two of the original 4 tags ordered, arrived with outdated leaking batteries which corroded the inside electronics of two of the tags (the other two were ok). Upon contacting the manufacturer, we were told that leaking batteries and associated damage is not covered under warranty, despite the fact that's how they arrived installed in the tags direct from the manufacturer. (So much for quality control - much less product support). So after paying initially for 4, only two ever worked as received... Anyways the old corroded batteries were tossed and the printed circuit boards cleaned up with some WD-40, a parts brush and an air compressor to blast away remnants of the now diluted rusty, leaking "sludge". With the pcb cleaned up and two new batteries, at least one of the two corroded tags was able to be salvaged..... The other tag was so badly rusted, that it was beyond hope and was subsequently relegated to the kitchen trash container. For having made a brand new purchase, that experience was neither expected nor pleasant.
The issues of poor (or lack thereof) quality control aside; it's measured maximum range under absolute line of sight ideal conditions, was confirmed to be about 600 feet as advertised. With the tag hanging about 5 feet off the ground from a tree limb and with a "clear shot" and in direct view "shooting" across the back pasture, the absolute max range was just about 600 ft. (And we DO MEAN the absolute Max under the most ideal conditions with fresh batteries.!) However, real world range when the tag was affixed to a cat collar, was found to be reliable & "solid" only to 280 ft outdoors. This was determined by attaching two of the tags to the collars of two of our more "adventurous" & roaming "test cats" (Sara and Jenny). Both tags were attached to their collars which were now only 2" to 3" off the ground (or more accurately: snow - since it was winter here in Maine when the testing was conducted). The woods out back is fairly dense, so it came as no surprise that the real world range (for cat tracking applications anyways) was less than half. Hiding out in or under the barn is one of their favorite places. In this situation, range was a dismal 75 feet or so & a far cry from the touted 600 feet... The high pitched audible "beep" from the tags is not exactly loud or piercing, and can only be heard from about only 10 feet away if there is any ambient background noise such as wind. The audio level of the beeping tag is so low & at such a high frequency, as to be almost useless. In all fairness: the flashing led however, was found to be quite useful at night.
Indoors, we had no problem locating any of the tags. The receiver seems far less susceptible to misleading reflections than the above product - - - has a great backlight feature for night operations and the menus are clear and easy to understand. More of a consumer friendly type product, just select the cat/item's name from the displayed list of registered tags !
The tags however, are NOT weather resistant. One day of their wanderings outside in wet grass or fog, and the tags will quickly fail due to moisture infiltration. The other problem is that the supplied lanyard that attaches to their regular collar is much too long. Every time they take a drink, the tag will end up submerged in their water bowl. You'll have to come up with a shorter lanyard or a way to affix the tag directly to the collar..... Not incorporating a weatherproof design into the tags, would imply the designers never had a cat, much less even tried their collars out on one..... It's hard to fathom such a design oversight.....
Conclusion: For locating items within 280 feet such as car keys, or cats that never venture outside where you have a good general idea of where they are to begin with and the tags are never exposed to even dampness, it works as advertised & is worth the price. I found the tags invaluable for use on kittens due to their light weight and small form factor, locating car keys and my wireless phone headset which I'm always misplacing. In most cases, those are always within 100ft, so the Loc8tor's limited range isn't a factor... Not worrying about having to replace batteries but once every 9 months, is also a major convenience.... But for outdoor cats that typically roam on average 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile, none of those features count for much. The 280 foot or less real world range of the "Loc8tor" ®, is far too limited to be of any real value for such an application. (read: Near Useless) ..... of course that is the dear price to be paid for low power output.. For tracking & locating outdoor cats, any system to be useful, requires at least a solid 1/2 mile range and being impervious to moisture infiltration... The Cat Loc8tor ® meets neither of these criteria even under the most optimistic of circumstances, & is thus not recommended for outdoor cats. Course, those are the ones that really need long range transmitting collars !
Product support (or complete lack thereof) based on our experience, is a separate issue..... If your tags arrive with corroded batteries that damaged the tag transmitter, you in effect just purchased an expensive piece of rust, if our experience is representative of their customer support. Perhaps just a new overly zealous customer support rep that didn't want to "give away the farm" the first week on the job, but unwillingness on the part of the manufacturer to accept responsibility and make good, forces us to mention it.
The Loc8tor: http://www.loc8tor.com/
* The views expressed herein, are based on our own personal first hand experiences with the product, and may not be representative as that of others.
Cat Locator GPS
GPS technology holds great promise... Kitty could wear a GPS receiver that would also incorporate a transmitter for transmitting his coordinates either via GSM Cell Phone or to a specialty receiver. You could then track kitty as you would for locating a geocache.... Although the technologies exist today to do that, there still remains some stubborn stumbling blocks...
The collars to house the GPS receiver and cell phone transmitter are still too large and heavy to be worn by a cat.
The power requirements to operate these devices are still too great. To be viable, batteries must last on average about 30 days (without kitty having to lug a lead acid car battery around to power it).
However, GPS & Cell Phone chips continue to shrink in size, price and power requirements... it's only a matter of time now before that becomes the ultimate solution...
Here is a link to the latest GPS pet tracking technology currently available as of May, 2011.
For cats; not quite ready for "Prime Time" just yet.. But the technology is coming closer. Still some battery storage capacity issues to be improved on though.
Whitey The Seagull
Seal Trap Cove - Isle Au Haut, Maine
Though obviously not a cat, Whitey was also something special. This is the highly condensed story....
Whitey the Seagull - Isle Au Haut Maine
For many years I would take the lobster boat out & head off to Isle Au Haut for an extended vacation. (a small island off the Maine Coast). One afternoon I heard a commotion and looked up to see an Osprey attack and kill a seagull on shore . Went to investigate and found this sole surviving baby seagull chick.
It was meant to be I suppose, so for lack of anything more original, I named him "Whitey", and finally found myself taking an entire summer off to raise a seagull chick.
Every time I went back to the cove, Whitey would appear usually before I even had the anchor set. Seems he "knew" when I was returning. I had Whitey 12 years, but come Spring 2004, he never showed up. Though always a beautiful place, somehow, Seal Trap Cove never seemed the same. There was this certain feeling of "emptiness"...
Special times together - Morning coffee..
Whitey as a young adolescent "teenager"
Sitting atop the skiff, we would go for rows of the cove..
Whitey was spoiled rotten... I'd often purchase an extra lobster just for him ... Don't think I'll ever forget Whitey or the bond that developed. I have many fond memories of raising Whitey the Seagull.
In the end, that's all we get to take with us on our final journey... The life lessons learned and our memories.
864 Newport/Gray Rd
Newport, NY 13416
Highly Recommended Cat Products
The K&H 3193 Heated Thermo Kitty Bed is a big hit !
The high sides and thermal heater makes it a favorite especially during the winter. The high sides protect from drafts as well as offer security to "piles" of kittens !
Highly recommended from almost any on line vendor
This Deluxe Kitty Castle is another big hit !
Each post is also a sisal rope scratching post. Placed just behind a bay window to give them a great elevated view, it will quickly become a favorite "hang-out" for the adults and play area for the younger ones !
Available from: http://www.lovethatcat.com
X-Mat ® Scat Mat
Keep cats off any area. Won't harm
their paws - just uncomfortable... Inexpensive, won't wear out,
requires no batteries & it works !
KH3097 Heated Thermo Kitty Perch ® *
Highly recommended !
The high sides reduce window downwash of cold air.
More importantly, the high sides help keep Kittens or the elderly from falling out and injuring themselves.
Kittens especially love it and will "accumulate" in huge "kitten mounds" inside its protective sides - It's a big hit ! (with both me & them !)
You will not be disappointed !
Bite Buster ® Kevlar Gloves
Recommended for cat owners with feral cats !
Attempting to get a feral cat into a carrier can be a risky affair, having been bitten many times. (and cat bites are extremely painful and prone to infection).
This product solves all that.....
Constructed of Nitrile/Kevlar® material with a 22mm nitrile insert. Three times the puncture resistance of leather !
Thing in a Bag®
What self respecting cat dreaming about being a Big Game Hunter, can pass up the opportunity to go after moving prey in a paper bag ? Wiggles and crinkles as a vibrating motor turns off and on randomly. Runs on 3 AA batteries. The toy has an auto-shutoff which turns off the unit after approximately 10 minutes, which really preserves battery life. It's irresistible ! A favorite of the adult puddy's here as well.
Available at many on line stores.... We got ours at Drs Foster & Smith.
Peek a Prize®
For Cats and Kittens.
Keeps them amused for days... Once they begin to tire of it, just fill with different toys, catnip or favorite food treats !
Comes in two sizes, though the large size is recommended.
Available at many on line stores.... We got ours at Drs Foster & Smith.
Laser Toy for Cats & Kittens
The best cat laser toy I've come across. The bug shape looks stupid (sorry: no other way of putting it) but large enough to fit comfortably in your hand and easy to find.
Best part is that it runs on standard AAA batteries instead of obscure and often nearly impossible to find button batteries that often don't last long.
The latest in care and research and much more from The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
A wealth of information published monthly
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The Furminator is the best things since sliced bread for removing the dead undercoat. Since Barclay is a shedder and so old that he has trouble cleaning himself adequately anymore, I have to furminate him daily..... Most cats love em right off the bat - even all the kittens and will get "in line" waiting for their nightly furminatings... Aids in bonding and they'll love you for it... Almost as good as food treats !
The Furminator is one of those "Must Have's" if you have cats.... Absolutely amazing how much it removes.... As a side benefit, also a lot fewer fur balls to be barfed up and less fur that seems to accumulate everywhere..... Get the medium size one and not the small one that's really, well: too small.....
After their 1st Furminating, you'll know exactly why you named one of em "Fluffy"
Available at most pet stores
Whatever litter you use, a good quality metal scoop such as the Dura Scoop will make your scooping life much easier, plus it's virtually indestructible....
No more flimsy cheap plastic scoops that either break or flick the litter everywhere as they flex under the load.
Petmate ® Giant Litter Pan
As it's name implies, it's huge (measures 34.6" x 19.7" x 10". The litter compartment itself measures 26" L x 17" W x 9" High) with high sides to prevent misses and litter being tossed over the sides by aggressive digging and covering up activity by the more prissy of your little fur balls...
Comes with 2 molded in compartments for scooping tool storage or whatever. Ideal, especially for multi cat households. With smooth sides and bottom, it's easy to clean. At about $20 ea depending on where you buy it, it's more than the cheaper and flimsier boxes, but consider also that it should last a lifetime. That combined with a good litter, and your cats will think they are in litter box heaven.... About the best way to explain it is that it represents (to a cat anyways) the difference between an outhouse and toilet. If space is a consideration, go with the largest box that will fit... Litter lasts longer, there will be far fewer "misses", you will have to scoop less often and do a complete litter change less often... One of the cases in life where Bigger is Better. The additional cost will be more than made up in reduced litter and other cleaning costs... It will prove to be cheaper in the long run.... A necessity for multi-cat households.
NOT Recommended Products
There are not too many products we openly do not recommend, but these bear special comment.
Note: The following represents our own opinions & experiences and may NOT be indicative of what others may experience
But for someone who runs a mini-shelter with 17 cats, reviews are not "sugar coated"... "I call em as I see em"
The complete lack of sides makes kittens almost guaranteed to fall off the edge, resulting in possible injury.
The lack of sides also makes the perch more susceptible to cold air downwash from the window. Unfortunately, this is the model that replaces the kh3097 (depicted above which was of a much better design...)
Apparently lower cost to manufacture was the driving force (naturally without reducing the consumer price)
However, installation is simple and is stable. Would make a nice platform for your own bed design.
Compared to the kh3097 above & highly recommended, this is a far inferior product.
Nice marketing picture of a Maine Coon though...
As an animal lover, please support your local shelter.
First of all: Adopt a homeless animal if you can provide a loving home &
have the time to properly care for your fellow life partner
No domesticated animal should be homeless, abandoned or be forced to live out their lives in a shelter or worse yet: the streets.
Unable to adopt but still desire to help ???
Then consider the following:
Almost all shelters are in desperate need of the following items....
clay cat litter
canned dog and/or cat food
Kitty or Doggie Treats
Purina ONE dry dog food
cat toys, bedding, Kitty Castles, Scratching posts
rawhide dog bones
laundry detergent, dishwashing soap
hand soap sanitizer, waterless hand sanitizer
paper towels, latex gloves
tall kitchen bags, 33 gallon trash bags
shoe-boxed size plastic boxes with lids
hotdogs & string cheese for dog training
peanut butter for late night dog treats
General office supplies including inkjet cartridges (check with shelter for which ones)
No spare cat litter or any of the above kicking around you say ???
Then donate time as a volunteer.... Shelters are always in need of cat "sitters/petters", dog walkers, errand runners,
cleanup volunteers, grounds keepers, painters, electricians, plumbers, clerical help or web site hosting & web site maintenance.
If you can imagine it, then they are probably in desperate need of it !
None of the above apply
Then Volunteer to serve as a Foster Care Provider in the raising of abandoned kittens, puppies,
bunnies etc etc and other unfortunate animals that require special care or simply just a less stressful home environment...
EVERY shelter is in desperate need of Foster Homes
Be warned: You will most likely fall deeply in love with your Foster Child.... You raised them
and gave them life. Putting them back up for adoption once you have fulfilled your mission of mercy , could prove difficult.
a special person that has the strong desire to nurse newborn or sick animals
back to health....
But the personal rewards are far more than you could ever possibly imagine....
Most shelter volunteers & even
staff are also Foster Home Providers, but they are often inundated.
Have neither the time or materials to donate ???
Then sponsor a cat or a dog...
Many shelters now have a sponsorship program whereby you can donate
funds to provide for a cat or dog's special needs until adopted. Also consider sponsoring the shelter's web page...
One last option:
Finally, consider naming your
local animal shelter in your will....
This single act alone could provide thousands with good loving homes & the medical attention they need.
* * * * * * *
Where do your donations go ?
Check out this video tribute to the Humane Society of Knox County Maine where most of the cats here came from..
Cleverly hidden from view, but perhaps by now it's obvious
to any animal lover that has read this page....
Video Interchange is merely a thinly disguised "front" and funding source for our Homeless Cat Shelter !
(or at least it seems that way !)
Links to other No Kill Shelters and Sanctuaries worthy of mentionand your support
This place is amazing... Makes the 20 I have here hardly seem like many at all...
Visit Caboodle's web site and take the tour... (Link is below..)
Caboodle Ranch is a 30 acre non-profit cat rescue society; founded by a single individual who cared enough to make a difference in the lives of our fuzzy little friends.
(Excerpted from Caboodle's About Us page)
I was renting a two bedroom condo by the beach with my son. It had all
the comforts and conveniences of home. Nice furniture, a short walk to
the beach and close to work. Then my son moved out on his own for the
first time. He left his cat, Pepper, with me because he couldn't take it
with him. I didn't like cats but I agreed to keep him. I wasn't used to
being alone and I guess Pepper wasn't either. We slowly began to get
along. A couple months went by and I found out Pepper was pregnant.
Oh great, now what? She had five kittens. I wanted to give them away
because I didn't want my beautiful home destroyed, but my son told me
they had to stay with their mother for 8 weeks. Over that time I learned
that every cat had his own unique personality and it wasn't long before
the kittens were swinging from my curtains. I didn't care. Something had
changed... I didn't want to give them up.
But with six cats, complaints started from the condo owner and the neighbors. I knew I had to look for other places to go. They weren't safe in the neighborhood.
I found a B.B. lodged in the side of one of my cats and another was bitten by a pitbull that I know was set loose on purpose. Something had to be done.
I wasn't sure what to do at first, so I built a shed in my son's yard and lived in it for a while. Then I found an advertisement in the paper from a realtor offering five acre partials on a tree farm; owner financing, low money down and low monthly payments... the problem was that it was 100 miles west of Jacksonville.
I drove out to see it and I loved it. Over the next months I bought five more partials. I now have 25 acres.
I cleared a small area and bought an office trailer as a shelter for my cats. I put in a pet door and padded shelves for them. We moved out there in November of 2003, the day after Thanksgiving. By that time I had 11 cats. I had taken in abandoned and stray cats from the neighborhood and areas that I work as a contractor. I had 22 cats by the spring of 2004.
I moved the shed out to the property and made a little cabin out of it. I thought it would be for me, but many of my cats wanted to sleep next to me... so I moved back into the office trailer where we had more room.
I no longer have any of my old furniture; material items aren't important to me any more. My cats have made me happier than I've ever been. They truly are the best friends I've ever had.
Caboodle Ranch is now a permanent sanctuary for cats who have been kicked around by heartless people. There are many sad stories between all the cats I've taken in. Some almost starved to death, some of them wounded strays. I've seen many locked in cages for months in animal shelters and have taken in some of those too.
Cats should be able to roam free, and at Caboodle Ranch, that's what they do. We are in the middle of 100 acres of wildlife. The cats follow me through the nature trails that I put in and maintain, they climb in tree forts that I've built and hide in underground dens I've dug for them.
All cats have been spayed or neutered, all shots are kept up to date and I keep regular visits to the vet for each of them. I travel the 250 miles round-trip many times a week to work and back again to keep a safe haven for them to live. Every one of my expenses have come out of my own pocket and I do with very little so I can give them a happy life, but it isn't always easy.
Founder of Caboodle Ranch
Cat Ranch Rescue
a non profit 501c3 rescue dedicated to providing unwanted, abused cats a safe and loving lifetime sanctuary to live out their lives.
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Cat House on the Kings
The Cat House on the Kings is California's largest no-cage, no-kill, lifetime cat sanctuary and adoption center located on 12 acres along the Kings River in Parlier, California, which is in the central San Joaquin Valley, southeast of Fresno.
The Cat House is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, receives no government or public funding, and relies entirely on donations from the public to carry out its mission.
Since its founding 18 years ago, The Cat House on the Kings has saved over 18,000 cats and 5,000 dogs (not counting the 40,000 animals we have spayed and neutered!) and currently cares for more than 700 cats and kittens in a unique, cage-free environment!
What this lady has done is nothing short of miraculous... Makes the 18 I have here pale by comparison... Her story of how it came to be is remarkable...
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June 25, 2012
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