Saturday, May 25, 2013

Well, it was supposed to be

...just a normal, average day of feeding the cats at the shelter.  That was before i got there.

Well, really it started a few hours before.  We had 13 foster kittens in the house; five most certainly ready to go to the shelter for pre-adoption, one that was a maybe, one weaned that is nowhere near ready, four that are on the verge of weaning, and a two-week-old that we just have for a few days so we can get her to eat from a bottle before the new-in-training feeder gets her.  No use giving her a kitten that won't cooperate for her first time, it might scare her away, and we need all the help we can get.

Anyway, as i was trying figure out when we would go and get the carrier ready and fix dinner early because Sweetie got home extra early (he had gotten to work just before 5am to help with a special project and got to come home early), and keep an eye out for the bigger kittens so that none of them would pull on a cloak of invisibility right before it was time to go, #2 Son asked if he and Festus could take the van, Jalopy (yes, i name my cars, they are clunkers that deserve names), to a friend's house.  (And if you kept that previous sentence straight, you are saner than i am after all of this happened.)

It turns out the friend lives just a couple of blocks from the shelter, so i offered to drive them when i left, and picked a leaving time.  They decided to walk, which i wasn't too thrilled about.  It's hot as blazes already, but they didn't want to wait another half hour.  They headed out, and fifteen minutes later, as i was gathering kittens, #2 Son called.  He and Festus were hot and dehydrated and could we pick them up off the side of the road on our way past, please?  Sometimes they have to learn the hard way.\

Soon we were on our way, five oldest kittens in tow.  The questionable one, i decided, is just too dinky in size and needs to get a little bigger and stronger.  Besides, she found her invisibility cloak just in time.

Little Girl and i got about a mile up toward the shelter when we saw #2 Son and Festus.  "Ah, the damsels in distress!" she grinned.  She isn't going to let her brother live this one down for a long time.  After dropping them at the friend's house, she and i proceeded to the shelter.

This is where everything got even more complicated.

Carol and 3 volunteers were there.  Carol and one volunteer were doing a combo test on a kitten for a lady who will foster these herself until there is room for them in the shelter, Ms. Vivian was going from cage to cage and room to room clipping everyone's claws as she does on Friday, and Anne was trying to get one of the stepladders to collapse so she could put it away.  The lady who was to foster the kittens was filling out her paperwork and as i walked in, i noticed the computer wasn't working.  Turned out the server was down, so i couldn't clock in, which is really no big deal, as i sign off on the book after we do all the work anyway, checking off all the medications and food given, so they would know i had been there anyway.  When i asked Carol if i should sign in the old fashioned way, she said not to bother, she wasn't going to do anything with it anyway, it would just turn into another piece of paper on her desk.  She was already very stressed, and it was about to get worse.

Right after i came in, a family walked in to look at adopting a cat.  The mom and daughter had seen a couple they were interested in, and brought back dad and other sister to pick one to be the companion to one near the same age they had at home.  Apparently the one at home, which they had adopted off the street a couple of months before, was making their 6-year-old Siamese very cranky with his 4-month-old antics, so they wanted another one of about 4 months to keep it entertained.  Their first request was to go sit in a room with the kitten so they could get to know her better, but as there is no such room where we could put them, we simply shut the door to the rest of the shelter and let them put her down in the big room.  She promptly tried to explore the whole place and climb inside the only piece of furniture in the hallway, prompting a frenzied game of chase and rescue..
Meanwhile, Little Girl and i had put our 5 in the tri-level cage that was ready for them, keeping only Ame out so she could be combo tested.  Because she was only found with one sibling, which didn't survive, she had to be tested separately (in a litter, we only test one, and if it's negative, then they all pass, as if one of them has these illnesses, then all the kittens in the litter have it).  Little Girl tried to hold Ame, but when Carol couldn't hit the vein because of too much squirming, i ended up doing it.  The thumps from the other room told us that Ms. Vivian was not having much success with trimming Oscars nails.

About this time, the lady who would foster the other 3 kittens she had found having left, we checked their combo test.  It was positive for FIV, which means that she can't bring them to the shelter for 4 weeks, when they will be tested again.  Often by that time the kittens test negative and are fine, they are just positive because they have the mama cat's antibodies in them, but they have not actually been exposed to the disease.  Carol set the test on her desk to remind her to call the lady with the news.  (The good news from this very nice lady is that, after a year of trying, she finally caught the mama that has been presenting her with kittens every so often, and got her spayed, so this is her last litter.)

The family up front had made their decision and were filling out paperwork, which Carol was handling, another couple of people were milling around looking at cats, the other volunteers were doing whatever needed doing at that moment, and the phone was ringing when Little Girl came out from filling the water pitcher and said the washing machine was leaking.

Indeed it was.  Being the closest, i went to see and found a steady drip from both sides.  Thinking fast, to keep the water from seeping into a colony room, i grabbed three huge dirty towels from the hamper and just threw them down there.  This is about the fourth time we've had the washer repaired, so this time, if it's more than a small leak in a hose, it's going to get itself replaced and go to that great appliance heaven.

Walking back up to see the kittens and grab one from the litter of four to run a combo test on, i noted that my 5 weren't too bright.  They had huddled on the top level, not realizing they could climb to the bottom where the litter box was, and one of them had left a very stinky mess in the middle of the clean cloth that covers the top level.  So it was back to the linen closet to find a fresh cloth to fit.  At that point i moved them all to the bottom so they would see they had a litter box available, and grabbed Gambit so he could be the one tested.

Carol and i got his sample, noted that Ame's was negative (whew!), and when i put Gambit back in the cage, i noted that all of them were now huddled on the bottom level, not realizing they could climb up to the top where the food and water are.  When did it happen that i raised such a set?

At this moment, i took the time to help Carol by grabbing her information sheet that has the list of all the kittens in each foster home, and finished up filling out all of the information on each of mine, so she could get it all into the computer, when once the computer is back up and running.

After that, i was trying to read the medications chart, Little Girl was feeding and watering, the phone was ringing again, the washer had finally finished its cycle, leaving behind a bigger mess on the floor with the now dripping towels, one of the cats in an intake cage that hasn't been feeling too great had barfed all over his cage, the adoption had been finalized and the family had left, Carol had tried to call the repair people for the washer and been told they would have to call her back, and the computer tech people had managed to remotely dig around the innards of the server and decide it probably needed to be replaced.  Poor Carol commented that she was the one who was going to be replaced if things kept going this way.

By the time i finished medicating everyone, including the ones with ringworm (again we have ringworm! will it never end!), cleaning the really nasty cages where sick cats were, helping haul traps for this weekend's trap/neuter/release day, listened to poor Carol take at least a dozen phone calls (including one from the pet store telling her that a cat needed to be taken out of the adoption area of the store that very moment because the fax of the cat's rabies vaccine paper had a slightly smeared line so it wasn't acceptable and a second from the same pet store telling her that one of our cages had been taken over by another rescue group), noted that Gambit's combo test was negative (whew! again), and we had fed and watered every animal in the place, #2 Son and Festus had walked over from the friend's house to catch a ride back.

As i was trying to fill out the paperwork so i could go, a nice man came to request that we take the cat his last tenants had abandoned when they moved out of the house two days before, as he already had one cat they had adopted from us and another stray they had taken in.  Poor Carol was about to have a nervous conniption by now, because we have to put people on waiting lists, and it's so hard when they show up with a cat and we just can't take it, we have no room.

We headed home down by 5 kittens, and i hated having to leave, because it was mayhem, and i know they could have used more help, but i had to get the kids back and cook dinner.  Of course, when i walk in this house it is always mayhem, with kittens screaming for bottles and lots of activity, even if i bring the activity in with me from the car in the form of my passengers as i did this time.

What's really fun about the situation is that vacation season has started, so the volunteers are taking turns being out, and sometimes they are very shorthanded.  In fact, we are going to go do it all again tonight, as it's the Saturday evening caretaker's turn to be out.  Taking an extra day is the least i can do, as we will be out the first week of June.

If i find Carol wandering around with a vacant stare on her face, muttering incoherently, i won't blame her one bit.

Today is

Africa Day / African Liberation Day  -- African Union; related observance
     President Yajya Jammeh's Birthday -- Gambia

Alma Highland Festival and Games -- Alma College, Alma, Michigan (annual celebration of Scottish heritage, with world class entertainment and fun; through tomorrow)

ARMAD: AMATEUR RADIO MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY -- US ("Ham it up for the troops!" is the motto of amateur ham radio operators on the Saturday before Memorial Day)

First Patriotic Government / National Day -- Argentina (Dia de la Revolucion de Mayo)

Flitting Day -- parts of England; Scotland (traditional day on which leases were up for the year and people moved)

Geek Pride Day / Nerd Pride Day -- celebrate the geek /nerd in you!  Geek culture is the obvious choice to laud when it's Glorious 25 May, Star Wars Day, and Towel Day at the same time; began in Spain as "Día del Orgullo Friki"

Glorious 25 May -- in Terry Pratchett's Discworld

Grubstake Days -- Yucca Valley, CA, US (parade, carnival, rodeo, fun!)

Independence Day -- Jordan(1946)

International Jazz Day -- originated with the New Jersey Jazz Society and sanctioned by the United Nations Jazz Society, the American Federation of Jazz Societies, and the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society, which encourage local festivals of Jazz on the Saturday before the observance of US Memorial Day

Isle of Man Tourist Trophy -- Isle of Man (through June 7; two weeks of the finest road racing on earth)

Julia Pierpont Day -- she came up with Decoration Day, the precursor to US Memorial Day; prepare veterans' graves for Memorial Day today

Liberation Day -- Lebanon

Lobster Days -- Mystic Seaport, CT, US (a New England lobster bake on the banks of the Mystic River; through Monday)

National Brown-Bag-It Day

National Missing Children's Day -- US (promoting awareness of the problem of missing children)

National Tap Dance Day -- US, birth anniversary of Mr. Bojangles

National Wine Day

Offering to Demeter -- Ancient Greek Calendar (date approximate)

Poetry Day -- Florida, US (since 1947, the state legislature declared this for all public schools in the state; if you don't live in Florida, enjoy a poem today, anyway)

Procession of the Statue of Artemis -- Ancient Greek and Roman Calendars, at Ephesus (date approximate, but always near the Thargelia)

Self-Reliance Day -- an internet originated holiday, based on the idea that we should all become more self reliant in this day when it is a dying art.

Skerpla Month begins -- Traditional Icelandic Calendar (Sharpness)

Star Wars Day -- Part IV, A New Hope was released this date in 1977

St. Bede the Venerable's Day (Patron of lectors; Father of English History)

St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi's Day (Patron of the ill; against illness and sexual temptation)

Taste of Cincinnati -- Cincinnati, OH, US (6 blocks of Downtown Cincinnati is turned into a big food extravaganza; through Monday)

Towel Day -- Douglas Adams fans, unite!  Always know where your towel is.

Utica Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Festival -- Utica, OH, US (local artisans, pony rides, antique gas engines, car show, motorcycle show, magic show, and more, plus tons of ice cream! through Monday)

Waisak/Vesak Festival -- Borobudur Temple, Java, Indonesia (on the day of the full moon, a stunning and spiritual celebration of Buddha's birthday)

War of Jenkin's Ear Living History Demonstrations -- Wormsloe State Historic Site, Savannah, GA, US (a colonial living-history event with musket demonstrations, military drills, tomahawk throwing and more)

Week of Solidarity with the People Of Non-Self-Governing Territories begins -- United Nations

Birthdays Today:

Lauryn Hill, 1975
Anne Heche, 1969
Stacy London, 1969
Mike Myers, 1963
Connie Sellecca, 1955
Frank Oz, 1944
Leslie Uggams, 1943
Ian McKellen, 1939
Tom T. Hall, 1936
Beverly Sills, 1929
Robert Ludlum, 1927
Jeanne Crain, 1925
Claude Akins, 1918
Igor Sikorsky, 1889
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, 1878
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803

Today in History:

First recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet, BC240
Alfonso VI of Castile  takes Toledo, Spain back from the Moors, 1085
Henry the Navigator is appointed governor of the Order of Christ, 1420
The Diet of Worms ends when Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, issues the Edict of Worms, declaring Martin Luther an outlaw, 1521
Richard Cromwell resigns as Lord Protector of England following the restoration of the Long Parliament, beginning a second brief period of the republican government called the Commonwealth of England, 1659
Jews are expelled from Warsaw by Marshall Mniszek, 1784
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, delegates convene a Constitutional Convention to write a new Constitution for the United States, 1787
In the May Revolution, citizens of Buenos Aires expel the Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros during the Semana de Mayo, 1810
The Patriots of Lower Canada (Quebec) rebel against the British for freedom, 1837
The first telegraphed news dispatch is published in Baltimore Patriot, 1844
Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore opens at the Opera Comique in London, 1878
The Republic of Formosa is formed, with Tang Ching-sung as the president, 1895
John T. Scopes is indicted for teaching Charles Darwin's theory of evolution in Tennessee, 1925
Henry Ford stops production of the Model T to begin the Model A, 1927
Jesse Owens of Ohio State University breaks five world records and ties a sixth at the Big Ten Conference Track and Field  Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1935
The first ascent of Kangchenjunga (8,586 m.), the third highest mountain in the world, by a British expedition, 1955
In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Organisation of African Unity is established, 1963
Star Wars (retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in 1981) is released in theaters, inspiring the Jediism religion and Geek Pride Day holiday, 1977
Bangladesh is hit by a tropical cyclone and storm surge, which kills approximately 10,000 people, 1985
Israel withdraws its army from most of the Lebanese territory after 22 years of its first invasion, 2000
32-year-old Erik Weihenmayer, of Boulder, Colorado, becomes the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, 2001
Oprah Winfrey airs her last show, 2011


  1. Wow. I just got really tired all of a sudden. lol

  2. Mary, i got tired all over just typing it out! lol

  3. Holy mackrel catfish....what strength you all have to do this day in and out. Bless you- you are all saints!

  4. Kathe, i don't know from saints, i just know hungry cats! LOL


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