Posts Tagged ‘Mr. Stinky’

A Stinky Ending

March 29, 2010

I have mixed emotions about the springtime. Spring weather is wonderful here in the sLow Country. Just today we had a warm morning with a breeze, and a light shower in the afternoon. The door is open now, and the temperature is that perfect, elusive number that is not too hot and not too cold, like Baby Bear’s porridge. Sylvia spent the morning lounging in the lounge chair in the sun-dappled shadows under the trees.

It’s also the time of year when a very bad thing happened. Well, two very bad things happened one year apart. The first was our move here in 2001 from our home in NC, a place where I’d lived since 1978. It was a hard move. Then one year later almost to the day, Mr. X announced that he didn’t love me any more, and he was leaving now, goodbye. The following years were like being sucker-punched every day. I’ve heard it said that it takes a year of recovery for every five years of marriage. That meant I had five years of recovery. Awesome. Check please.

But recover I did. Even so, this is a difficult time of year. So. My life is now my life, and my path going forward is one of my choosing, as good or bad or smelly as it might be.  It’s mine.  I own it.

*****

Mr. Stinky has been missing for a few weeks. I’ve been hoping somehow, if something had happened to him, that I would be able to know. Mr. Stinky and Lou traveled together sometimes. Lou is much more feral than Stinky, and her coloring blends in with the woods, so she’s harder to spot, but I could always see Stinky.  He lounged around the cat station within reach, and his coloring was easier to spot than Lou’s. I had put a doghouse near the cat station and filled it with hay for the wintertime. Sometimes in the cold morning when I went to the cat station, Lou and Stinky would come out of the doghouse where they had spent the night, warm and cozy in the hay.

A few days ago, I was returning from the cat station in the evening after work. I glanced at the dog house and noticed a dark shadow deep in the back of the doghouse. I went to the door’s opening and spoke into the house. The shadow did not move. I reached out, and stroked his head, and found the notch in his right ear. It was Stinky, and he was deceased. He didn’t have any marks from fighting on his body. He was just gone. We had a little burial for him at the Swamped! Plantation and Cemetery, and he sleeps under the trees near the cat station at the place he called home and where he returned to die.

Mr. Stinky, Rest In Peace

Marcelline & Maybelline Showed Up Tonight!

November 4, 2009
HPIM0918

Marcellene

HPIM0929

Maybelline

These two girls have been showing up at the feeding station, consistently, for the last week.  I’m guessing that they are girls because Mr. Stinky greets them with face rubs.  And Sylvia gets hissy about that. 

HPIM0930

Stinky greets Maybelline with a face rub

Stinky does not greet the males this way, so my guess is that this cat is a female.  She’s pretty feral and skittish.  I can get within 25 feet, and, less than that, she’s gone.  I should set the trap tonight, but I’m out of yummy canned food.  Sunday will probably be a good evening to set the trap.  That way, if I catch someone unfixed, they can have surgery on Monday and then recuperate the rest of the week at the vet’s. 

Last week, a woman brought an injured cat to the vet’s office.  The cat was huddled on the side of the road in a questionable area.  I don’t know that I would have stopped there…   (Yeah, I probably would have.  I stopped on Saturday, on my way to class, to pick up an injured turtle in the turn lane on a busy four-lane highway.)  Anyway, the do-gooder brought her to the vet.  Further examination revealed a cut across her tongue, near the tip, along with some other mouth damage.  We started the cat on antibiotics, and I syringed canned food and water into her mouth.  She ended up losing the tip of the tongue.  She finally started eating on her own sometime between Saturday PM and Sunday AM!  Things were looking good.  I could handle her, although she was skittish, and we made plans to have her fixed on Tuesday, 11/3, and then release her at my colony after a week of recuperation. 

The spay surgery started well, then she went into respiratory distress, and we lost her.  Sorry, sorry, sorry that she slipped away from us, but grateful that she didn’t die alone on the side of the road.

Once Upon A Time

August 21, 2009

Once upon a time there were two little feral calico cats who were trapped, spayed and vaccinated, and released in a safe location in my woods.  Sounds pretty simple.  Here are more of the facts between trapping and releasing.

Head 'em up, move 'em out

Head 'em up, move 'em out

They were trapped right before Christmas 2007.  My plan was to get them to the local spay neuter clinic, but the clinic had no appointments left before Christmas and were going to be closed from Christmas into the first of the year.  So these wild little cats lived in this crate in my garage until they could be spayed.  After they were spayed, they went back to the crate in the garage in order to recuperate for two weeks before releasing.  Six weeks is a long time to live in a crate.  And I’m scared of feral cats.  They do not play.

Crate in the van on the way to a new planet

Crate in the van on the way to a new planet

Then Sugar and I transported them in their crate to the new location at my property, covered them with a tarp for overnight protection, and released them the next day.
What's happening?

What's happening?

The day before release

The day before release

On the day of release, we transported an old desk to the woods and patched together a feeding station. 
Sugar's van full of important stuff in my driveway when I lived in a house

Sugar's van full of important stuff in my driveway when I lived in a house

Notice the Golden Ride RV parked in my driveway IN A SUBDIVISION.  I have no shame. 

We found later that the local dogs and wildlife were eating the food, so Sugar made a fence around the station with openings in the fence for the cats to come and go.  It keeps the dogs out, and my theory is, if the wildlife like possums and raccoons are hungry, they can eat here too.

The local diner

The local diner

The dog house on top of the desk has a soft blankie in it for a kitty to take a nap.  There’s a fact we learned:  feral cats are kick-ass kids and would not sleep in such an exposed situation.  We didn’t have an automatic feeder so we piled some dry food on a plastic plate.  We found that this is just simply not enough food, and that the plate ended up on the ground or even carried away.
Eventually I dismantled the desk, kung-fu style.  It was made of laminated fiberboard, and the rain and dampness over time had caused the desk to become sway-backed and weak.  It does me good to displace some aggression.
I had an abundance of boards left over from the shed construction.  Sugar took them and constructed an open-air protected feeding station. 
Stinky is hungry.  Where's the food?

Stinky is hungry. Where's the food?

Sugar is a good sport

Sugar is a good sport

The process of construction and destruction look much the same

The process of construction and destruction look much the same

The building inspector stopped by.  (It's really Sylvia.)

The building inspector stopped by. (It's really Sylvia.)

The inspector looks for her bribe

The inspector looks for her bribe

I have to say that the feral cat project has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.  And I’ve had lots of help, as you can see.  Sugar and Sylvia are always at the ready. 
The very first feeding station in the morning sun on the day of the first release

The very first feeding station in the morning sun on the day of the first release

This is a favorite picture of mine.  The sun was in the east that winter morning.  I paused to take this picture, the culmination of the liberation of these two little cats.  It was a day of promise, even though we didn’t know if this crazy cat project was going to work.  Catkin and Catnip were the first of many cats to be released.  This simple station became more refined and efficient.  We added a fence.  We replaced bowls with automatic feeding and watering systems.  We added shelters in the woods.  We built stronger, more protected feeding stations.  It’s been a great time.

Sittin’ along the kitten highway

July 21, 2009
Mr. Stinky and Lou at the rest stop along Kitty Highway

Mr. Stinky and Lou at the rest stop along Kitty Highway

The feral cats use the ditches that line the roads as their Kitty Highway.  Most of the time I do not see them, but I see evidence by their footprints that they were there.  Last week, when I pulled into the driveway, I saw Mr. Stinky and Lou sitting in the ditch enjoying the day.  The ditch is sandy with grasses, ferns, and wild flowers growing in and along the sides, and it makes for a pleasant roadway.