Category Archives: Pets

Beocat Ate Beowulf for Breakfast: Part 3

This is the 3rd and final installment of the legendary quest undertaken by Sir Mark Beocat, a fearless and valiant man on a dangerous mission to “fix” a problem of a full load of fertile feral cats. Last week, after a heady first success of reaching the daily maximum katz capacity of 6, we learned that the social club in an adjacent property dumped trays of fettuccine Alfredo out their back door offering the Katz a potential food source. Would Sir Mark get derailed by some unimaginative person’s party food waste? Would his efforts come to naught? Would the Katz learn that the fabulous smelling sardines and chicken in that cage thingy leads to a really, really bad trip, a blackout, and a hangover? And then avoid it altogether?

And now, the conclusion to Sir Mark Beocat’s Epic Quest.

Sir Mark’s log, Tuesday, December 19: “We trapped a bonus cat last night, so I had 4 cats to take to Springfield, the cat feeding villager [our dad] took 3 to the CT vet. We’re now waiting on some more.”

Sir Mark had made a rookie mistake and closed the traps the night before. Now he was worried. They had no cats for Wednesday. Still, he soldiered on and kept despair at bay. “The Katz were mucking about the deck last night, so maybe we’ll have some luck tonight.”

Wednesday, December 20: “We have 3 more going to surgery this morning! That makes 10 caught, leaving 4 more to go in the next 2 days.”

The original count had been 13 katz, but another had been identified by the villager. Keeping count was how Sir Mark knew he was making headway. His days fell into a blurring intense rhythm of trap checking, and then covering each trapped kat with a sheet or towel. Because the traps are just wire the katz don’t recognize they are in a cage and will continue to bash themselves against the wire. Once covered, they quiet down. Then there’s packing trapped katz in the truck, driving to the 8 am vet in CT. Drop off new katz, pick up post-surgery katz. Head to MA for the 9:15 time to drop off/pick up katz. He learned the hard way not to show up early at either place — they’d make you wait. The he released post-surgery katz, cleaned up the traps and resetg them, switching them to different places and putting them all over the yard.

Thursday, December 21: “It was a busy morning and a busy night last night. By morning there were 5 katz waiting for surgery. [Agent My Sharona had visited on Wednesday night, and Sir Mark declared her a katz magnet.] There were 2 bonus, heavy, tom cats in the bunch that were not planned on. They could be someone’s pet, but in the training Commander Caroline had said, if the owners didn’t want their cats nuts cut, they should have kept them indoors!” So be it.

This was the hard reality of Operation Krazy Katz. Just due to their size, you could safely assume the two toms were pets. It turned out that one of them was already neutered, so the vet just notched his ear. That’s how they mark a spayed/neutered feral cat — with a surgical notch. The other kat got free (for its owner) surgery. Commander Caroline said that if the owners were not happy about the situation, the law was on Sir Mark’s side. Of course, his quest was Just and True.

His entry continued: “The tally as of today is 15, 2 of which were kept for adoption in Springfield. We are still missing 1, possibly 2, of the little fur balls. I saw one late last night, and the villager said he saw the same one with another escapee this morning while I did the katz shuffle loop between the vets. We got the most productive mother, and what looks like the 2 of the fathers, so that’s good. Looks like male/female ratio was fairly even.”

Such an incredible success, and yet, there was no rest for our brave, diligent Sir Mark. “Today and tonight are the last shot at getting the last 2 footloose and fancy free varmints! Right now all is quiet. I’ve got 6 traps out with different menus. All we can do now is wait.”

Indeed. To be so close to the goal. But out there were 2 wiley creatures, just scared enough or smart enough to look beyond the tasty food down that long tunnel and sense all may not be as it seems…

Sir Mark’s log, Friday, December 22, 6:20 am: “Unbelievable! Caught 1 of the 2 stragglers last night, and found the last 1 in a trap this morning. Mission accomplished!”

We all rejoiced, and yet, just 1 hour later this: “Ah buggah, just saw a gray striped one that doesn’t have a notched ear. Apparently there were more katz than the villager thought. Hopefully, it’s a male. As the Grateful Dead said, ‘What a long strange trip it’s been…’ ”

Sir Mark finished the day by picking up 2 katz in MA. He hosed down and disinfected most of the traps to bring back to the rescue organization, and then picked up 2 other cats in CT.

Yes, my friends, there are still heroes in this world. 17 katz fixed, dewormed, and defleaed in 5 days. It was the work of a fearless and valiant man, Sir Mark Beocat. Long may he live, and may the epic that is written about his deeds and courage be sung throughout the ages.

 

Beocat Ate Beowulf for Breakfast: Part 2

Last week, we learned of a legendary quest undertaken by Sir Mark Beocat, a fearless and valiant man who spent several months (that’s several years in Olde English, armor-laden, horse-riding time) meticulously planning and executing a dangerous mission, battling nature herself and saving a village and one particular villager who had been feeding said cats. Despite the great odds against him, Sir Mark Beocat had set his sights on, er, “fixing” the problem of a full load of fertile feral cats and would not be deterred. He lives in Maine, 300 miles from the village in Connecticut, and so planned to spend the week. His months of relentless, heroic preparations came down to this: 1 week, 13 cats, 16 humane traps, 1 cat trapping boot camp, 1 helpful pet rescue organization, 2 willing veterinary clinics in 2 states, and pounds of the stinkiest bait food you can imagine.

His first stop was Our Companions Animal Rescue, which had agreed to lend Sir Mark 16 humane traps, train him how to use them, and connected him to 2 vets who were willing to spay and neuter the cats on a walk-in basis. Here’s what happened next; quotes are from his log book.

Sir Mark’s log, December 17, Sunday: “Looks like we’re clear for liftoff on Operation Krazy Katz. Cover me troops! I’m going in! I’m heading down at O dark hundred to ground zero Sunday and will be at Our Companions Headquarters for a 10:30 am briefing on the details of the operation. Agents ‘My Sharona’ and ‘Mighty Martman’ [our sister and brother-in-law] may accompany me if they so chose for the briefing, and we have been instructed to stay focused as Commander Caroline will cram a 1-hour briefing into 20 minutes, distribute a truck load of secret conTRAPtions, and send us on our way by 11 am.”

After the briefing, Sir Mark sent an update:

“The blitzkrieg training at Our Companions went well, with all three of us graduating Katz Cum Loudly! We threw our mittens into the air and did what graduates do, go to the liquor store and head to the beach. We didn’t get far before realizing: (a) It was too dang cold for the beach; (b) The liquor store was closed; (c) We’re not that wild and crazy enough any more for that sort of thing! Instead we somewhat reluctantly did the mature, responsible thing and got ready for the Mission Inkatzable. We picked up extra supplies [sardines and other stinky foods Katz can’t resist!].”

Later Sunday: “I will stake out the territory, do some reconnaissance, ready the traps, and start Operation Krazy Ol’ Koot on Monday. Then I’ll collect fur ball specimens to be spayed or neutered Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.”

The two vets that agreed to take on whatever cats he could trap had very strict rules around when and how to bring in the cats. They were also about 50 miles apart, one in Connecticut and one in Massachusetts.

Sir Mark reported: “Chippens Hill Animal Vet Hospital has agreed to take at 8 am, 2-3 Kats on Monday, 3 on Wednesday, 3 on Thursday, and possibly 2 on Friday.  Should I trap more than that on any given day, I can run 3 more a day up to the Dakin Humane Society in Springfield, MA. They accept cats at 9:15 am. Hopefully I will get some leads on finding places to unload a few of the Katz, and we can work on thinning the herd down to a more manageable number. Probably wishful thinking! I’ll be sure to give daily updates and call for backup if I get in over my neck in flea bags!”

Sunday night, Sir Mark recorded this entry: “The Katz were getting familiar with the open unsprung traps in the afternoon. Commander Caroline suggested we put them out without food to get the Katz used to them. I was surprised at how some had enough curiosity to check them out and even go into them! This is very encouraging! The traps were set to stay open so that the they wouldn’t close on the curious felines while they explored. Today we will set them up and see how many we can get.”

The traps were in place. Everything was set. Would the Katz be too skittish? Would they find a way to steal the food and get out? All we could do was wait it out for Sir Mark’s next update.

Monday, December 18: “We had a successful first day, trapping 5 Katz in the first hour, and 1 more in the afternoon.” Success! They had reached their daily limit of 6. On Tuesday morning, the katz-feeding villager took 3 cats to the CT vet and Sir Mark drove up to Springfield. “We will try more enticing bait tomorrow, sardines and chicken.”

But later that day, there was a worrisome development. Commander Caroline had told Sir Mark to limit the Katz access to other food so they would be more likely to go into the traps to eat. The neighbor agreed not to feed them, but a social club in an adjacent property dumped a load of fettuccine Alfredo out their back door. Would Sir Mark get derailed by some person’s party food waste? Would his efforts come to naught? Would the Katz learn that the fabulous smelling sardines and chicken in that cage thingy leads to a really, really bad trip and a hangover and stay away?

Find out in the thrilling conclusion next week!

 

 

Beocat Could Eat Beowulf for Breakfast: Part 1

In days of old, my brother’s successful quest a few weeks ago would have been immortalized in song. The court poet laureate would have been summoned to hear the heroic tale of the fearless and valiant man who spent several months (that’s several  years in Olde English, armor-laden, horse-riding time) meticulously planning and executing a dangerous mission, battling nature herself and saving a village.

The poet would be sent off to pen the enduring lines that would be recited for centuries in the royal court, then sung enthusiastically by drunks in taverns, and finally forced to be painfully memorized by bored high school kids in freshman English.

It started with a few of those wily creatures found around witches and James Bond villains: cats. The local villager (aka our dad) started feeding strays. And, for a few years, like a cute dragon that has hatched from an egg and isn’t very big and hasn’t yet learned to breathe fire, it was all fun and games. But then a funny thing happened on the way to mother nature. This year several batches of kittens were born, and said villager started feeding them all. Suddenly, a few cats became 13. In addition to the possible risky things that can happen when there are 13 feral cats about, even a word girl like me understands enough about math and exponents to know that next year, we’d have 50 cats and a lot of ‘splainin’ to do, Lucy.

The siblings batted it around for most of the year. It was part of a bigger discussion around caring for my aging parents. And since my dad reads this blog, I will also say they are doing amazingly well, but they are pushing 90, so no shame in getting some help. And it really was my siblings — they were great about letting me launch the kid this year, so for the cat thing, I looked up a few feral cats websites, got nowhere, and declared the problem intractable.

And this is why a legendary epic will never be written about me.

My 2 sisters also looked into the issue, but over months of research, they came to that often inevitable red tape dead-end: the feral cat organizations or city wouldn’t touch them because they had been steadily fed, and the legit pet people would charge as if it were one beloved house pet with a big pet health insurance policy. Also, my sisters were distracted by those other pesky things like our parents’ medical procedures and doctors appointments.

But Sir Mark Beocat, as he will henceforth be known, had set his sights on, er, “fixing” the problem of the fertile feral cats, and would not be deterred. His months of relentless, heroic preparations came down to this: 1 week, 13 cats, 16 humane traps, cat trapping boot camp, 1 helpful pet organization, 2 willing veterinary clinics, and pounds of the stinkiest bait food you can imagine.

What happened next? Tune in next week!

 

 

 

 

 

Hamster in a Blanket

My friend George told me there’d be days like this. When I spoke with him 3 years ago about starting my blog, he knew me well enough to know I can get too focused on always bringing my A-game to my writing, or at least die trying. Having done social media for his fabulous knitting and crochet pattern business 10 Hours or Less, he also knew some days I’d be lucky to get out of bed and get dressed, never mind post some quality writing that will make people laugh and cry and give them a push to get their own ass out of bed. Some days a B or even B minus-game will do.

George is a wise man, and today is one of those days. So I give you Marble, the amazingly cute hamster in a blanket, because that is all I got this week. Oh, and hey, I’ve been doing this blog for 3 years — thanks for being a part of it.

Marble2

Intermission

In today’s episode of Where the Fuck Are We Now, I’ve decided to take a break and showcase the handiwork of other, very capable individuals. I’ve been talking with friends and plotting next steps. I should have an update next week. But for this week, I need a break from the ongoing shenanigans of Cheeto flea. And why can I take a break? Because the Boston scientists were out in force on Sunday, and for a word girl, I seriously love science nerds. Maybe I kinda wish I were one. Maybe I never got over that college major (biology) that got away from me. Maybe their clever use of words makes a word girl swoon. Whatever the reason is, I thought you might like it too. Don’t forget your self-care, your friends, how to laugh, and when in doubt, go straight for the kitten, puppy, and baby goat pics. Then get on with the panning and plotting of how we get through these next 4 years. We can totally do this.

Best signs from the Boston science rally    

altfact

 

Top 10 Posts from 2016

Intellectually I know 2016 wasn’t the worst year ever, but it was pretty bad; so let me have my grief before I move on. On my better days and a couple of glasses of wine, I try to see 2016 as a wake-up call. We’ve drifted from some essential human ingredients–some of which we know and others that gobsmacked us seemingly out of nowhere. So it’s time to face that, and I tell myself to suck it up, buttercup. Of course, we still need to laugh and wisecrack on the way to saving the world. Princess Leia and Hans Solo taught us that.

And in that spirit, I present to you the top 10 posts for the year, selected by your interest; you guys have good taste. It’s a balanced mix of serious, funny, and frivolous.

Thank you for allowing me to butt into your life with my random musings. Thank you for telling me you liked a post that I was unsure about or that I enjoyed writing. Most of all, thank you for just being here with me. It means a lot.

10. This one is a good reminder to keep checking my own biases and little (or big) judgy ways. Please forgive my unfettered Anglophile-ness. It’s a Blonde Line Between Love and Hate

9. Ah, Collegepalooza 2016. The applications should be done by now–surely I can trust my teen, right? Right? Well, we’ll always have rubber bands. Snap to It

8. Oh, perimenopause! You blogging gift from the gods. Although I fear that your weird pains will be eclipsed by the PITA prez (pain in the ass). The Mother of All Aches and Pains

7. And when all else fails, look at the cute hamster to make you smile, take a deep breath, and get beck in the ring. Cute Hamsters Is All I Got

6. Some days it’s all I can do to be verbal, so “kind” seems like a stretch. Looking at hamsters is probably a good start. Nice, My Ass

5. Sometimes you stand and fight, and other times, you flee. Alpha Flee

4. Dancing is good. Dancing with a cast can be even better. It’s not a bad reminder that barriers mostly exist in our minds. You Should Be Dancing Part II

3. Here’s the much-needed frivolous post, strategically placed before the impossible politics. For Fart’s Sake

2. Darth Vader is out there. Grab your light saber and your blaster, we’re making a run for the Millennium Falcon. Time to Get Busy

  1. I love that two dancing posts made it in the top 10, but I wish I hadn’t had to  write this one. Dancing Should Not Be an Act of Courage

In 2017, I promise to keep writing, laughing, fighting, and being Sandy.

The Hamster’s All Right

I wrote a while back that our current hamster, Marble, needed to have surgery to remove a growth on his nether regions. Now you shouldn’t confuse this with the post I did about our previous hamster, Hamphrey, who also needed surgery in his nether regions, resulting in, sad to say, no more nether regions. I admit, many dollars later, I may be a little bit over having male hamsters at this point. 

However, Marble not only got to keep his hamster manliness intact, he’s doing fine and swaggering around, taking his antibiotics like a champ. The biopsy came back, because you know in a world where a hamster biopsy is possible, why wouldn’t you have one? A friend suggested perhaps they just throw it away and pick random things to tell you from a spinning wheel. I choose not to be that cynical. At least not at $200 a pop. Turns out it was cancerous, but they think they got it all. We’re supposed to keep an eye on him, but he’s a hamster, so there’s probably a good chance he’ll live out the rest of his 2-year life span with no more more trips to the vet. Or at least at that point I can look into hamster hospice. 

They are cute and pull at your heart strings, so what can you do? Here’s to a long hamster life Marble.