Archive for the ‘Rescue animals’ Category

The Crazy Cat Lady Tote Bag

July 22, 2018

Have you noticed that the commercially made tote bags are made from the same fabric as the Friskies cat food bags?

Of course you haven’t. Why would you?

A few years ago I got the bright idea that I would stitch up some tote bags using the cat food bag fabric. It’s like a woven plastic with a sheen, and it slid under the presser foot uncontrollably. I gave it up. It wasn’t meant to be.

This month all the stars and planets came into alignment.

I have been using the empty cat food bags as recycling bags for empty cans and plastic containers. I’ll have to find another storage container for those recyclables because the cat lady tote bag is a happening thing.

The secret was to adjust the tension on the sewing machine. I’m using a basic Brother machine with some zigzag and buttonhole features.

I told over the top of the bag and stitch a double row of straight stitches to secure the hem. I measure from the top down about 20″ and cut there. The bag is already in a stout tube shape so there is no side seam to stitch. Turn the bag inside out and seam across the bottom. Flatten the bag so that the bottom seam touches the imaginary side seam and creates a point. Stitch another seam about 4″ long across the point. Do this also on the other end. Trim off the point.

I like to use the original strip of fabric that was stitched across the top of the bag at the factory to close the bag, and use it to encase the bottom seams. It makes the bag very strong and hold its shape.

I ordered some polyethylene strapping online from an Etsy shop. Cut a length about 20″ long and seal the end by passing the cut end over an open flame like a lit match. One quick pass is enough.

Stitch the ends onto the bag, one strap per side. I know that y’all are smart people, and you can look at another tote you might already have and figure it out.

Now the fun cat pictures.

This was the first bag. The bottom seemed stout, and I hadn’t figured out the seam construction yet, so this 1st bag is a cut off bag with a turned-down stitched top and added straps. This might suit your purposes completely. I’ve used this one for a small load of laundry for the first time and then for groceries.

I studied the construction of a Trader Joe’s bag, courtesy of Sugar’s cousin Liz, and another smaller bag from a rescuer friend Kimberly.

My bag is in the middle. I used the bottom seam, but hadn’t yet improved it with the seam binding.

Moving on. A Beneful bag FROM a coworker turned into a tote FOR a coworker.

I further improved the construction by folding across the bottom, end to end, and stitching next to the fold. This bag stands upright by itself.

I cut my own seam binding from a leftover trimming from the top of the bag. The photo below shows the bag inside-out so that you can see the construction.

I’ve decided that I like the bag to be about 17″ high, and the base to be about 4″ deep. I’m using 1″ wide strapping. Many thanks go to the quality control team of Pop-Up and The Butter. I sent a little message to the Friskies people to show them what I am doing. The owner at the Alvin Ord’s sandwich shop in Beaufort has offered to save her bags for me. (They have a nice resident cat that I wrote about before.) This offer makes me think of all the places that use cat food. Shelters, kennels, businesses, pet owners – all potential sources of bags to be kept out of the landfill. Do you want a bag? Send me a little donation to my paypal at ruthmarierawlsATgmailDOTcom, and email your address to me, and I’ll pop a bag in the mail as soon as I stitch up some more. You people that have already sent a donation, sit tight. Your bag is coming soon!

Mr. Catpurrnip and Mr. Orange

February 10, 2018

Something very odd has happened between those two boys. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Mr. Catpurrnip is the newest cat in the colony. Mr. Orange has been here for several years.

Mr. Catpurrnip is a transplant from Sugar’s place. Mr. Orange is an old, grumpy-faced cat that just showed up here several years ago. It took a year to trap him.

Mr. Orange has never interacted with any of the other cats. He always stayed the farthest away from me.

One evening I arrived home, and Catpurrnip and Orange began acting out a greeting ritual to each other. It was like they were actors in a play solely for me. They stretch and bow to each other and butt foreheads and rub against each other.

They don’t sleep or nest together. They will eat from the same food bowl. They only do this greeting ritual when I am headed to the car to leave or when I have driven in to the driveway. It’s actually bizarre.

The following video shows the intensity of their greeting for each other. By the time I get the camera out to start recording, I have already missed the initial bowing and stretching routine. Apparently I am the trigger that causes this behavior.

Amazing to see that animals can feel such strong attraction and affection for each other. I am guessing that some of the behavior is self-satisfying, much in the same way that cats purr to make themselves feel better. I have seen cats purr in the exam room after being hit and badly damaged by a car. The vet explained that purring releases endorphins.

So enjoy some more weirdness happening here at the Cat-Catching and Head-Butting Facility.

Mr. Tickles

October 14, 2017

An orange and white cat showed up at work. He was a handsome, affectionate male. He started out by sitting on one of the cars, asking for attention. This is generally not a good way to elicit empathy, what with the love affair that most people have with their cars. He only did it once, and then moved on to more direct tactics.

He would wind himself in and out between my legs as I walked to the feeding station. Then when I would leave the car’s hatch open and sit on the edge and dangle my legs over, he would use mind control.

Something had to be done about his business. Sugar made an appointment at the spay neuter clinic, and of course Mr. Testicles did not show up in a timely fashion. He stopped showing up at all, and the worry was that he was out catting around, getting into trouble of one sort or the other.

Recently he reappeared, two days before the next tentative neuter appointment. I raced to PetSmart at lunchtime to get a crate, stuffed him into said crate that evening, transported him home where I kept him in a big kennel,  then later the next night I transferred him into a trap for transport.

The next morning, Sugar dropped him off for Tickles’s brain surgery.

The day after surgery, I transported him back to work.

He disappeared for a few days. Perhaps he was visiting his lady friends to show off his surgical scars, or hanging out with the guys, showing off his tattoo.

He’s back now, none the worse for wear.

Welcome to the ‘hood, Mr. Tickles!

Errol the Feral Learns the Construction Trade

March 11, 2017

I’ve written about Errol before. He was taken in by a cat lady in 2011. The lens in his left eye had ruptured, so I got a couple of opinions about what needed to happen to him. 

The two vets that I consulted agreed that the eye would heal over, but he probably couldn’t see out of the eye. He might be able to see some shadows, but not clear vision. 

There are lots of one-eyed cats in the world. They do not know that they are impaired. 

Errol is building a screened porch at Sugar’s house, which explains why the sawhorses are so happy. 

Because cats need screened porches. 

A Cat Named Georgia 

February 11, 2017

Georgia lives here at the Swamped! Plantation. 

She decided to plonk herself on me because she wanted a nap. 

That’s how it is with Georgia. She only does what she wants, and she doesn’t care who she needs to walk on to get it. 

In this case, she made for some good close-ups. 

Georgia has lived here longer than any of the other cats. She arrived with some neighbors when they moved down the road with their *twelve* cats. It had turned into an unintentional hoarding situation when some strays adopted them, and nobody had the money for spay/neuter. I took in Georgia and her sister, and found homes for 2 kittens, after I had them all vaccinated and spayed. (That was back in the day when I had a much larger disposable income.)

Georgia has a direct personality and she is exceptionally nosy. If you come to visit and leave your car windows open, she will go home with you. 

She has always been brought back. 

Because the photo below? Is also the face of Georgia. 

The Cat on the Picnic Table

June 2, 2016

A new cat was lounging on the picnic table a few weeks ago. I had seen him at a distance before, but on this particular evening, he had made himself at home on the picnic table feeding station. 

When I got a little closer, I saw that where his right eye should have been, there was nothing but a squinted-closed eye. And a little closer, it looked like maybe his eye had been damaged or was missing. There was a dark spot where his eye should have been. No blood, but no eye, either. 

He didn’t bolt away when he saw me, so that was an improvement. Before, he had kept himself protected from my view by keeping barriers between himself and me, like hiding behind trees or staying outside the fence. 


Today, during the evening time when the air is cooling down and the mosquitoes are out, he was lying flat on his side on top of the table. I hoped he wasn’t dead. I approached the table from behind him, and chirruped a welcome. He raised his head, looked at me and meowed. Then he stood up and walked toward me, still on the picnic table, and raised his tail in the air. If you have spent time with cats, or read this blog for more than 15 minutes, you’ll know that a tail in the air is a good thing. 

He let me scritch the top of his head. I opened a large can of food for him, and while he ate, I was able to scritch him on the back. I was able to confirm that he was a boy. His head, face, and shoulders were covered with wounds and scars, old and new. That eye was missing, but I couldn’t be sure if it was because of a wound or a birth defect. 

I supposed that he would become the third one-eyed cat here at the Swamped! Plantation and Cat-Scritching Facility. 

Next stop: catching and testing. Please let him be negative. 

Your Monday Kitten

March 28, 2016

It seems I have added 1/2 pound…

The two orange siblings passed away not long after I got this group one week ago. Their body temperatures never reached a level that was high enough to register on the thermometer. This can mean that their vital organs are impaired and will shut down. 

In the meantime…

This guy can drink from a bowl, which makes my life infinitely simpler. 

Kittens of Spring

March 23, 2016

It’s too cold for kittens. We had a cold snap a few nights ago. 

A woman called me because she was monitoring a nest of kittens born to a feral mother, and suddenly, the morning after the cold night, the kits weren’t moving. 

They were basically so cold that the thermometer could not get a reading. Today, they are on soft bedding in a crate on a heating pad. They have been fed and rehydrated and dewormed and de-fleaed. Which is not a word except in my world. 

If you would like to donate a dollar or two, there’s a “Hep a Kitten Out” button on the main page. 

Or just send happy thoughts our way!

Gratuitous Kitten Photo

January 8, 2016


Ahhh. Dora Belle.


Here a Kit, There a Kit, Everywhere a Kit Kit

December 7, 2015

Sometimes I write about dead people and the convoluted connections. It looks like cats are becoming convoluted, too.

Back in the spring I got a text from someone asking if I could go to the Wendy’s and pick up a cat in the parking lot. It seemed that a nice cat was living there.

Now, the best place for a cat is not a parking lot of a fast-food place. I can understand that cats like the dumpster scenario, because once I took in 3 cats from a McDonald’s that were feeding from the dumpsters.

I drove on over but never saw the cat. I would have thought that someone was pulling my leg, except the report, along with a photo, came from a reputable person. I parked and got out and walked the entire place, even checking out the Burger King next door and the gas station past that.


I never saw a cat around. It was like an urban legend.

Three weeks ago I saw the cat.

I was pulling into the Wendy’s, and there he was brushing up against a van, oblivious to the traffic. I just so happened to have canned food and a trap in the car. There was nowhere to park, when a spot opened magically as if on cue when a car backed out in front of me, three spaces away from the cat.

I popped a can, walked up to him, put the can on the ground and wiggled my fingers at him. He didn’t make a move, so I tickled the top of his head and a ruffed him hard.

He went limp, as limp as death, and I walked back to my car with an open can of cat food in one hand and a swinging limp cat in the other.

Somehow I managed to open the hatch and open the trap and stuff him in. I didn’t dare look at the restaurant because I want to make eye contact with any patrons who might be staring out the window, mouthing Killer Catcatching Crazy.

The cat was not happy about being in the trap, but I drove on through the drive-thru ’cause a girl’s gotta eat.

Back at work, we made a plan to fix him.

Really, it was too late in the day to add on another surgery, so we made a plan for the relief vet to surgically alter the kit on the following day.


The next day, the relief vet took one look and said…

She’s a Cali-point. Like a Siamese is a seal-point, this little mix is part-Siamese, part-alley at, the second part being calico which is generally a female.

After surgery, I took her home to recuperate. After a week, I released her, not sure if I’d see her again. After all, most releases I never see again or only from a distance. Maybe she’d head back to the Wendy’s.

Nope. She lives here now.