Sunday, December 6, 2015


I don't write much about Jazz because I don't see him often.  Lately he has been coming for food both in the morning and the evening when I feed and I am always happy to see him.  He is now 13 years old.  Jazz was a wee fella of about 5 or 6 months when I began feeding back in 2002.  He was the spitting image of his mother who was a beautiful solid grey kitty.  Jazz and his 2 sibs were jet black but the head shape and facial features left no doubt who mom was.

I've gone through ups and downs with Jazz over the years.  I was never able to get too close to him, maybe 4' or 5' at best, but then there was a time when I did not see him for months and months and then if I did see him and he saw me he would take off as if he was in real danger.  

A couple of years ago his bestest buddy, Tess, hit by a car in the early morning.  Since then he's been a loner and he meows.  He never talked until after Tess died.

I love that I am seeing him regularly lately but I know that this can change.  For now I'm enjoying seeing him and knowing he is eating well.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ready for winter

Every time I think I am finished getting things organized and ready for the kitties to be warm and cosy over the winter I think of something else I can do but now I think I am truly finished.  It is only Spirit and Ollie at this location yet there are numerous sleeping shelters.  Spirit tends to use all of them except for the one Ollie uses and Ollie only uses the one she has been using for years.

The two big black boxes are old feeding shelters that are now well insolated and I have been putting heated Snugglesafe discs in them at night. I really want Ollie to start using one of these shelters because it will be warmer for her but she still goes to her usual shelter.  I put a little catnip on the disc to get Ollie interested and I have seen go in but she doesn't stay.  I will keep trying to entice her and maybe........

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Fussy Little Kittehs

I've been caring for my feral cats for 13 years this month.  In all this time the kitties have never once gone without at least one meal per day.  

It makes me chuckle that these dear little cats can become fussy eaters just like our kitties at home.  Yesterday Ollie was taking it to a whole new level.  Here she is with her breakfast selection!

What a beautiful spoiled little girl.  Some days I hit it right but yesterday was a miss.  She only got this variety because I was feeding at a few other locations so I knew the food would not go to waste.

When I returned to feed dinner Ollie ate really well but that was probably because she was hungry.

I just love this sweet little girl.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What a day!

My first responsibility was to feed my little feral kitties and after that remove and dispose of the little raccoon that had died in one of the cat's shelters (see Tuesday's post - what you doing in there?)

I removed the roof of the shelter and got the dear little raccoon into a cardboard box and covered the body in straw.  I did a little reading on distemper and raccoons and thought maybe I should get in touch with the city about disposing of the body.

Calling 311 was one option but I thought it would be faster to call Toronto Animal Services directly.  The phone was answered and I had to listen to a number of recorded options.  I listened to all options, made my choice and was expecting a person at the other end.  No, I got another recording with more options.  I listened, made my choice and waited for a person.  No.  Not a person, another recording telling me that I would be connected to 311 !!  What the........?  For readers unfamiliar with 311 dialling this number is Toronto's solution to answering any questions on any subject related to the city.  

I got a 311 staff person, explained that I had found a dead raccoon in my feral cat shelter and wanted to know what I should do with the body.  The person, he gave me his name but I wasn't paying any attention, asked for the address so he could send someone from Animal Services to pick up the body within 48  hours.  I don't know the address.  My feral kitties are in an industrial area between two commercial buildings and I couldn't see leaving this raccoon in a box out front.  One of these buildings is very busy during the day with people coming and going constantly.  Then it was suggested I put the deceased raccoon at the end of my driveway.  Well that didn't seem like a good plan either.  Finally the 311 staffer asked if I was thinking of transporting the raccoon to Animal Services!  I asked if that was an option and he put me on hold.  Less than a minute later he came back and said I could deliver the little raccoon to one of 4 Animal Services shelters.  He was about to give me locations for the closest but I told him I knew the closet location was at the CNE grounds. Then he offered to give me Animal Setvices phone number.  It was the same number I had originally called that had automatically put me through to 311 !!  Yes, that would be such fun to go around in circles. Call Animal Services, get put through to 311 then start all over again.

Off I went with the little raccoon in the back of my van.  As I was approaching the CNE grounds I realized that the Royal Winter Fair was to start in 2 days.  Animal Services is located behind the horse palace and all around that building farmers were unloading their goats, cows, chickens, sheep and assorted other farm animals.  There was no way I was going to get anywhere near Animal Services with all those lovely farm animals and loads of people so after a failed attempt to get close to my destination I headed home with the dead raccoon still in the back of my van.

I eventually solved my dilemma.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What you doing in there??

This morning while feeding Ollie and Spirit I noticed a shadow in the sun shelter.  I built these shelters with an acrylic top hoping the cats might use them in the cooler months to stay warm with the sun beating down (as much as winter sun can beat down ;)   ).  Last winter both Ollie and Spirit did use these shelters.  

What's in the sun shelter?
Upon closer inspection I discovered a little raccoon sound asleep in the shelter.  Awww, it's a youngster. 



Sun shelter (left) sleeping shelter and Ollie
This little raccoon has no idea how good he has it!

I've just returned from feeding Ollie and Spirit their dinner.  I checked the shelter and the little raccoon was still there but then the thought occurred to me that this little fellow may not be sleeping. He was in exactly the same position as this morning.  After tapping then jiggling the box I have come to realize this little creature has died.  

Tomorrow I will come equipped with the electric screwdriver to remove the acrylic roof and remove this wee creatures body then I will find a place to bury him.  I read recently that there is a lit of distemper among the raccoon population and in particular this area of the city.

RIP dear little raccoon.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Winter shelters are ready

They ain't pretty but they are fixed and ready to keep Ollie and Spirit warm and dry for the coming winter.  There are lots of shelters for sleeping and three shelters for eating which is more than enough for two little cats.  Both cats have their favourite spots to sleep but sometimes they like to move around.

Here it is November 1st and the hydrangea I was going to throw out but planted near the East Side Gang earlier in the summer still has flowers.  I hope it survives and really takes off in the spring.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Straw for shelters

Every year about this time I drive out to my sister's farm to pick up bales of straw for my ferals cat's shelters.  Today I picked up 13 bales.  I delivered them to where my ferals are and covered with a couple of tarps until Sunday when I will get to work.

My van was full with little room for anything else.

 Rain is expected tomorrow so the straw has been covered with tarps.  As I unloaded I saw a number of holes in the bales that have been made by mice. I hope that none of the mice, if they were still in the bales, came out while the straw was in my van!!

Monday, September 28, 2015


I haven't written much because it has been a pretty quiet summer.  Jazz, the only Logan Gang member, was around a lot this summer but about 4-5 weeks ago he has been out of sight for the most part.  I see him occasionally so I know he's fine.  Ollie and Spirit, the 2 remaining cats from the Eastside Gang, have been at every feeding.  All was well until this weekend.

Friday Ollie and Spirit ate well at both a.m. and p.m. feedings.  Saturday Spirit didn't come running out to greet me which he does meowing the whole time.  I found him curled up near his winter sleeping shelter.  Every visit I made he was in the same spot and would not eat.  He gave me a little meow each time but made no moves to get up or eat.  I was really worried.  If he wouldn't eat I had little chance of coaxing him into a carrier or trap.


Spirit curled up

This morning I woke up to rain and my first thought was Spirit.  Did he get up from his spot and find shelter or was he still there and now soaking wet.  I was nervous about what I would find as I walked the path.  I was almost at the end of the path and out popped Spirit, meowing.  I as so excited and pleased to see him.

Spirit ate a small amount of food but I had come prepared and opened a different flavour and he ate a wee bit so I opened a third can and again he ate a tiny bit.  I don't usually leave food because even during the day the raccoons are known to show up and devour everything but this morning I did.  I left four bowls of different flavours of canned food and some dry.

Before I left I saw Spirit take a drink of water, again not a lot but a little something was better than nothing.  Then Spirit walked into the little A-frame I made last year to keep extra straw bales clean and dry.  He sometimes sleeps in there and today that was he preferred spot.

Spirit in the A-frame

At 5 p.m. when I returned Spirit came out of the A-frame meowing.  He licked the gravy from assorted bowls of food and he ate a few Temptations treats.

Finally eating a little

The bowls of food from the morning had not been eaten by raccoons but small amounts were gone from a couple of bowls so I think Spirit ate a little.

I have no idea what was going on with Spirit but I really thought I was going to lose him and I was trying to prepare myself for this possibility.  He has never behaved like this before.  Both he and Ollie are about 14 years old now which is pretty incredible for feral cats.   

I will be back to see Spirit first thing in the morning.

Monday, July 20, 2015

No news is good news....

Not a lot has been happening in my colony and that's great.  I go everyday to feed, sometimes twice a day.

Now that winter is behind us I usually sit with Spirit and Ollie while they eat.  I spray myself with mosquito repellant first otherwise I would be eaten alive.  We had such a wet spring the mosquitos are out in full force.  I see them rubbing their front legs together in anticipation as I approach the cat's feeding area.  I can almost hear them say, yay dinner has arrived!!

Ollie and Spirit are both long haired cat so they have had some serious mats which I can't removed because these kitties won't let me touch them.  Ollie gets really fluffy in the winter so when the spring arrives she becomes a walking mat.  Just this past week she was able to remove a huge mat from her backside.  She is such a tiny cat in the summer.

Ollie managed to pull off this last huge mat
that was as the base of her tail/right hip

Ollie relaxing finally mat free

Although Spirit sheds and gets mats he seems to keep most of his long fur all year long except around his neck.  He walks around with what appears to be a big furry body and a scrawny neck with a head attached until the fur fills in a bit after the mats have been pulled off.

I wish I could groom both of these kitties but I can't even touch them.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Baby Robin

Every spring a pair of robins nest close by the East Side Gang.  And every spring I worry that the babies will survive when the cats are so close.

A couple of days ago as I was walking the path back to the feeding area for Ollie and Spirit I notice an adult robin on the path.  Then I realized that a baby robin must be close.  Sure enough I saw a young robin learning to fly. Actually this little bird knows how to fly but he is still spending a lot of time close to the ground.  

Yesterday I saw mom and dad robin so I knew baby was around.  I was happy this little guy was ok.  While I was sitting with the kitties during their meal I heard chirping. I looked up to see both parents a few feet away which meant baby was there too.  This was just a little too close to the kitties.  I moved towards the birds and the parents flew in opposite directions but not too far.  There on the path sat baby robin.  I knew where Ollie was but Spirit had wandered off and I had no idea where he was.  Thankfully baby robin flew up into the trees away from the cats area.

When I was leaving the cats one of the adult robins flew by with a worm or bug in its beak.  I stopped to watch.  The parent sat on a low branch looking around.  I backed off a little and then saw the parent fly down into the tall grass below to feed baby.  

Today I didn't see or hear the robins when I arrived but as I was leaving the area after feeding Spirit and Ollie I saw the parents and the baby.  

I love watching the happy side of nature.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A different dynamic

In my last post I mentioned Ollie had been missing for about 48 hours.  She did return and she was so hungry.  She disappeared again a week or so later but only for about 24 hours.  I came to the conclusion she was hiding in one of the sleeping shelters, not from me but from Spirit.

The dynamic has changed since the loss of Doodle and Jag last January.  Spirit has become much more of a bully and Ollie is really frightened of him.  Ollie just has to see Spirit and she runs into the sleeping shelter and often Spirit chases her.  Poor little Ollie.  She is not a very big kitty and I think of her as being very dainty.

Over the past month things seem to be a little better for Ollie.  Spirit seems to be less mean spirited.  He eats his food then wanders off leaving Ollie to eat in peace.  

I'm so glad that the weather is warming up for the kitties sakes.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Where are you Ollie?

It has only been 48 hours but I'm really concerned about little Ollie.  She is a very small cat.  When I had her spayed she didn't quite weigh 5 lbs and I doubt she is much more than that now.  Her fluffiness makes her look bigger.

Since January when both Jag and Doodle crossed the rainbow bridge Spirit has been picking on Ollie more than ever.  Ollie runs back into her sleeping shelter at the mere sight of Spirit and often Spirit chases Ollie.  I've tried reorganizing the feeding shelters so Ollie doesn't see Spirit but it hasn't really worked well, unfortunately.  Ollie is constantly on guard and I do my best to keep Spirit out of Ollie's sight lines.

I'm wondering if Spirit has chased Ollie away and now this dear wee kitty is afraid to return.  Today I walked around calling Ollie and using my clicker but no luck.  This disappearance is very unusual behaviour.

Please come back little Ollie.  I miss you so much baby girl.

UPDATE  Ollie showed up this morning.  YAY!  She was very hungry.  Now I wonder if she was trapped somewhere in one of the buildings nearby.  I'm very happy she's back.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

With Spring Comes......

.....babies.  Not kittens but baby raccoons.

About 4 or 5 weeks ago I noticed Ollie was no longer using the big sleeping shelter.  It didn't take me long to figure out a raccoon had probably moved in.  Thankfully I have more sleeping shelters than cats these days.  Ollie had moved into the shelter that Spirit used for years and Spirit moved into the renovated shelter I fixed for Doodle, so everyone has a warm spot to sleep.

I think the raccoon has had her babies because she is now coming out during daylight hours looking for food.  As much as I would love to feed her to help her out I think it's better if she forages for her own food.

Today when I returned to feed Spirit and Ollie their dinner the mom raccoon came out too.  I carry a spray bottle with water which is perfect for keeping the raccoon away while the kitties eat their fill.  Once the cats are done I remove all remaining food.

When the time comes for mom raccoon to wean her babies she will bring them all out and then trying to keep them away from the cat food will be a real challenge.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


I've just returned from releasing Spirit who spent four nights at the vet.  

Spirit and Ollie are the two remaining kitties in the East Side Gang.  Over the past number of weeks Spirit's food consumption was way down.  Ollie wasn't eating much either and I thought it was because of the cold weather.  However as the weather has improved Spirit still wasn't eating well and I began to think that he was suffering from a dental issue.

Tuesday I caught Spirit in my cat carrier by luring him in with some smelly tuna juice.  I dropped him off at the vet for an assessment.  Later that day the vet called to say that Spirit didn't have enough teeth left in his mouth for a problem.  The vet took blood and would call when the results came back.  When the results came in all the levels for kidney, liver and thyroid were normal.  Not bad for a 13 or 14 feral cat!!  The vet could not find anything wrong with Spirit.

When I called today to see if I could pick Spirit up I was told that he had been eating well and had also left a big hairball in his cage!  Hmmmmmm....could that have been the cause of the lack of appetite?  

Spirit was very quiet on the drive home and even stayed quiet in the carrier when we got to the colony location.  Usually when I release a cat they shoot out of the carrier running off to hide.  Spirit saundered out and started talking non stop announcing his return.  He ate some food, did a little grooming then ate more food.  He's a happy cat to be home.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Howie and the Flip Flop

Howie is our youngest kitty.  He's a naughty and often destructive little creature but I love him just the same, but he can push things a little far.  I would never give him up because I'm not sure anyone else would tolerate is destructive ways.

Last summer Howie discovered crocks, those rubbery plastic shoes.  Mike and I both have two pairs each, one for going out in the back yard the other for going into the garage and front yard.  

I was lying in bed one evening watching TV when Howie came upstairs with Mike's red crock in his mouth.  This was the first I knew of what has become Howie's fetish for footwear.

A few weeks later my flip flops became the target and wow!  The puncture marks.  It wasn't long before I knew that all crocks had to be put out of sight and the flip flops up on a shelf in the closet.  Then Howie moved to leather sandals and shoes but they didn't interest him quite as much.

Last week I not only forgot to put my flip flops up on a shelf but I left the closet door open.  We came home to find a chunk missing from one flip flop.

A little less than 48 hours later Howie regifted two big chunks of flip flop in the dining room!

My hope was that he didn't have anymore in his belly but he did.  He stopped eating and he was in some discomfort so off to the vet.  

Howie is still at the vet and will be there until Monday, at least that is when I expect to be able to bring him home.  

The vet Howie is at is out in the countryside because my sister works there and has for a very long time.  Because my sister works there I get some of the behind the scenes stories of Howie's stay.  When I arrived last Wednesday morning with Howie, Mama Cat and Lane, the two resident clinic cats came to greet us. Both are super friendly and stuck their noses in the carrier to say hello to Howie.  Howie was ok with this greeting.  Good.

Howie's first night he trashed his kennel.  The water bowl was spilled and clumping litter was everywhere.  It was so awful the towel used for his bed had to be tossed In the garbage!  Yikes!  The second night Howie escaped from his kennel.  Mama Cat and Lane and Howie must have had a blast trashing the kennel room.  Stuff was everywhere.

Last night was night number three.  An extra security lock was placed on Howie's kennel. I got a brief text from my sister.  Seems Howie escaped again.  I haven't any details and it is unknown how he managed his escape this time.

On the positive side, x-rays show the little piece of flip flop is moving through Howie's intestines.  And I've been told that Howie is a very easy patient and cooperative boy when being handled.  He certainly is a spirited little cat.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Snow Day

We got lots of snow overnight and up until about noon today.

This is what I found when I arrived to feed the East Side kitties today.  Drifted snow up to my thigh and kitties in sleeping shelters with no opening.

Spirit's sleeping shelter was completely covered and not even a wee peep hole to the entrance.  He was inside all cosy until I dug him out so he could come for breakfast.

Friday, January 23, 2015

New Normal???

Well it is certainly feels different when I feed my remaining ferals.

Jazz is the only one left of the Logan Gang and he is quite feral.  He has become more feral over the past four or five years to the point he keeps his distance.  I have discovered he only comes out to eat at the end of the afternoon.  I still leave food in the morning, just in case he comes early but it is still there when I return before dusk.  If Jazz is in the shelter eating when I drive up I just keep going.  I learned a while ago that if I stop and just sit in the car Jazz will run and he doesn't return.  I have adjusted my feeding schedule to arrive by 4 pm, leave fresh canned food and fresh water.  Jazz will show up within the hour most of the time.  


The East Side Gang has dwindled down to two kitties, Spirit and Ollie.  I am happy they always come out to eat while I'm there.  I can't pet either of them and after 12 years I double I ever will.  I am thankful both appear in good health, have thick furry coats and they use their winter sleeping shelters.  They eat well at both the a.m. and p.m. feeding.

I miss being able to interact with any of the kitties now.  I loved that Doodle would rub against my legs, Valentine (Rainbow Bridge July 2012) would stand between my feet purring, FJ (Rainbow Bridge January 2013) and her brother Jet (Rainbow Bridge June 2011) loved to be groomed.  I loved that these dear kitties learned to trust me and I loved loving them.


Spirit, Jag, FJ, Ollie and Doodle

Spirit, FJ, Jag and Ollie

My mission was always to care for all these kitties until the end of their lives but that always seemed so far in the future.  Guess the future arrived, I just wasn't ready.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jag my beautiful black kitty


Today I had to help Jaggy cross the Rainbow Bridge.  She had cancer and was in pain so from that point of view the decision was easy.  What made it difficult is that earlier today she seemed so bright and responsive to me.

Three weeks ago I was able to catch Jaggy so that I could bring her home but not before going to the vet.  I was told that the problem could be an abscess or a tumor.  Of course I hoped it was an abscess.  It made more sense to me that it would be an abscess.


A week later Jag and I returned to the vet but there really hadn't been any improvement.  Her left eye was still swollen almost shut, she had an abrasion above her eye and there was yucky stuff in her left ear.  A swab was taken to see if we needed to put her on a stronger antibiotic.

This past Sunday I felt she was not doing well.  I called the vet Monday and because I wanted Jag to see the same vet who had been caring for her I had to wait until today.  It was decided to see if the new lump below her ear was an abscess.  I left Jag with the vet to do what he needed to do and returned a few hours later.

I learned that Jag's orbital bone had disintegrated and that her TMJ was fused so that opening her mouth, even under sedation, was not happening.  I asked if this was causing her pain and when the vet said yes I couldn't allow her to suffer further.  The vet was amazed she was able to eat at all but she did.

Jag and Ollie

In the past two weeks Jag's appetite was unbelievable. She ate so much food and as long as she was eating I thought she was doing well.  That she might get better.  She had even gained weight.  Every time I went into my guest room to spend time with Jaggy she purred.  She started purring immediately upon being touched. 

I'm so sorry Jaggy that you had to be so sick but I'm grateful for the past three weeks we got to spend so much time together.  I am also grateful that I got to give you a warm home to spend your last few weeks.  You were so loved for all 12 years that I cared for you.  I miss you very much sweetie.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Dear Sweet Doodle Noodle

Last week when I renovated Doodle's winter sleeping shelter I had no idea that a few days later it would no longer be needed.

Friday I went to feed the East Side Gang with the intent of trying to get Doodle into the carrier so I could bring him home.  He wasn't eating.  This wasn't unusual because he was often a poor eater during the winter months.

Last night he went into respiratory distress.  The vet examined him and we talked but ultimately I decided to help Doodle over the Rainbow Bridge.  Doodle's future didn't look promising and the vet said he might not survive the night.

Doodle was my favourite "feral". He and FJ (she died in January 2013) were the sweetest little cats and I loved them so much because they let me kiss them and hug them and groom them.  They came to greet me when I arrived with food.  They loved the attention and both were so affectionate.

This morning when I feed the East Side Gang, now consisting of two remaining kitties, I know I am going to break down.  Seeing Doodle's empty shelter is going to be difficult to look at.

I love you so much Doodle Noodle.  You were a very special little cat.

Doodle checking out his new digs last Monday

Enjoying a little summer sun
July 2014

Summer snoose

The new winter sleeping shelter for Doodle, Jag
and Ollie

Doodle and Jag November 2014

Doodle loved to be loved
Note the wee bit of food on lower lip

Enjoying warm Snuggle Safes

Doodle made a bed from the leftover straw
used to the sleeping shelters

A special dinner for my special buddy