Sunday, August 31, 2008

Funny

Sorry for the absence. I decided rather suddenly to take a vacation from the computer for a while. We've had such nice weather and with my outdoor projects calling me, I find the computer to be quite the distraction unless I ban myself from it for a while.

I'm working on a post on disaster planning (while sending lots of positive energy and purrayers to those in Gustav's path), but for now thought I'd share a photo from one of my favorite websites icanhascheezburger.com. It made me laugh out loud and everyone needs that these days. Enjoy and I'll be back tomorrow.

Monday, August 25, 2008

There's Something in the Air

Did you notice already this morning that there was something special about today? Did the air smell cleaner? Fresher? Was there a spring in your step?

Maybe it is because it is POSSUMLADY'S BIRTHDAY!!!

Since it is my birthday today I'd like to ask you all a favor. No, you don't all have to wish me a happy birthday (I'm not THAT desperate--well actually I am). No, I'm asking those who frequently visit but never comment to just give me a shout out that you exist! I do have statcounter so I know the areas around the country and world where everyone comes from and I do notice that some folks come back a number of times but never leave a comment--which is fine since I do that too! But just for today, let me know who you are! I'd like to say hi.

In return, I'll leave you with this video I shot last evening. I don't know if you will be able to see anything. When I looked at the video, it filled my whole screen so I was able to see everything. Making it small enough for blogger now I'm not sure. What it is, is an evening sky filled with swifts and dragonflys!! You will notice from my comments that I think the swifts are eating the dragonflys but now after watching it a number of times I really think both the dragonflys and the swifts were eating mosquitos!! If anyone can confirm this please do.


video

Enjoy and give me a shout out!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

LET THE STAYCATION BEGIN!!

Yes, that's right, Possumlady has just begun her MUCH needed two week vacation or staycation since Iwon't be going anywhere. The first week I'll be doing projects around the house, hence the gardening and cleaning gloves (except on Monday since that is a special day!) Then, the second week I'll do whatever I darn well please. Reading magazines, going for walks, doing a little sketching. I bought fixins to make myself yummy and healthy smoothies for breakfast every day. Oh, and of course I need my chocolate! My cats are going to be so spoiled with me home for so long. Get out those crayolas and color me tickled pink!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

SIim Jim

The return of the poor old blind cat back to her owners last week made me think about Slim Jim. In mid-January 2006 I noticed a skinny black cat hanging around the house (sigh). After checking with neighbors to make sure it wasn't one of theirs I started coaxing the cat to me. It didn't take long before the cat was purring and rubbing up against me. I was able to pick him up right away and was shocked to find out that he was declawed! Poor thing! He was neutered and looked old but he wasn't starving, he just had the sleek physique of a siamese. One distinct feature was that part of his left ear was missing in a crescent shape. I brought him in the house where he made himself quite at home lying on my lap. I named him Slim Jim and amazingly he got along with everyone in the house. My neighbor who fosters started emailing all the local shelters to find out if anyone reported this cat missing.

Within 48 hours she excitedly called me saying that she thought she found the owner. Someone did send a Lost Cat notice to the Montgomery County Humane Society a few days after Christmas about a lost black cat. The shelter was having a little trouble getting in touch with the owners since both the husband and wife (and daughter) were deaf and the shelter did not have a TTY machine. After a few more days the folks finally responded by email and the man was going to come by my house to check to see if it was his cat. I asked my neighbor if he mentioned the distinct missing part of his ear and she said no. Well, I huffed, I have doubts that this is their cat. That would be the first thing I would have mentioned if it were my cat!

The next night I had a pad and pen ready for communication and my neighbor and the man stop by. My black cat Woody, being the black lab of cats, came running up to greet him. The man immediately went on his knees and picked up Woody, looked at him, then quickly put him down and sadly shook his head "No, this is not my cat" I started laughing and tapped him on the shoulder and motioned "That was MY cat" I found Slim Jim behind my couch and carried him to the man where he immediately took the cat, and with his hand felt the missing ear and said "THIS IS MY CAT!!"

The cat was actually his wife's who found the cat as a kitten in a New York City alley 14 years ago. They lived on the complete opposite end of my town and said Sammy must have gotten out while they were moving their daughter home for college break. Since it was going on three weeks they had all lost hope that they would ever see their cat so the man never told his wife about our email exchange and was going to bring Sammy back home and just put him in their bedroom and wait for his wife to come home from work. Boy what a wonderful surprise that probably was!!

Now, I have to tell you, the man made a big deal about how they plastered their neighborhood with flyers and gave me a copy. This is basically what it said:


Black cat missing

Owners phone number

Yes, they had a cartoon black cat on the notice. Let me give you all advice on Lost Animal notices. If you don't have a photo of your pets, take one today so you will have it handy in case it gets lost. This is how I would have listed it:

LOST ON DECEMBER 24

Indoor only Black Cat (Sammy)

(Photo of cat)

Neutered male, declawed, 14 years old

Distinct missing part of left ear in crescent shape

Last seen at 1234 Mockingbird Lane on December 24

Please call 222-2222, cell: 222-2222, email ___________

Anyway it was a happy ending all the way around. The man asked if I wanted a reward and I vigorously shook my head, no, no, no! I was just tickled that we were able to reunite Slim Jim, I mean Sammy, back to his owners.

The following weekend my doorbell rang and it was the man again. This time with two 20-pound bags of cat food for me and the best thing was that they were the brand that I use! He said he made note of the brand when he was at my house and saw it in my kitchen. What a sweet gesture!

Friday, August 15, 2008

There are Angels Walking Among Us

There has been a bit of drama going on this past week. On Sunday I received an email from our neighborhood listserv from a woman that lives in the area and volunteers at the Montgomery County Humane Society (MCHS). She posted that she found an older, gray, blind (eyes removed) cat wandering around a section of my town. She brought it to the MCHS where everyone immediately fell in love with her. A regular purr machine she would gladly be picked up and cuddled by anyone.

I've been heartsick all week thinking about this poor animal helplessly and blindly wandering around town. I asked for updates while secretly wondering if I could take this cat in if no one claimed her.

When I got home from work tonight I had an email. They located the cat's owners!! They have been frantically looking for her but since the MCHS is so far away from our area they didn't think of calling them. I am relieved on SO many levels!


Here she is. Doesn't she look like a female Greybeard?? If she only knew she was a cat's whisker away from coming to live at Possumlady Place! Whew! I'll finally be able to sleep well tonight.

Yes, there are angels walking among us that were looking out for this old girl.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Little Apu

With my camera on the blink and the insanely wonderful weather we have had lately (low humidity, highs in the low 80s and lows in the mid-60s), my blog has been the last thing on my mind. So tonight I thought I would go through my old photos and talk a little about Apu, who, going on 12 years old, is now the patriarch of Possumlady’s Passel of Cats.

As many of you know, I adopted Apu when he was four months old from a shelter in 1996 along with Butterball (who was three). My very first cat, Bill, had died just two weeks prior. Bill was one psychotic kitty and many of my friends were more than a little worried around him. So, when I adopted Apu I decided to bring as many people around as possible to get him accustomed to strangers. Apu followed Butterball’s lead and welcomed everyone that came over. When folks would be settled in the living room, he would crawl over everyone to meet and greet them. A friend of mine joked that he was worried that Apu didn’t know how to walk since I carried him everywhere. I would sing to him while he would fall asleep in my arms, a song I made up that went to the tune of Winnie the Pooh, except it was Little Apu.

(Little Apu at six months with Big Butterball)



Then, when he turned a year old it was as if a light switch had been turned on in his brain and he became incredibly nervous around everything and everyone. It was such a drastic change that I called my vet thinking something was wrong with him. She didn’t think anything was wrong but she came over to do a quick check. After giving him a clean bill of health, her explanation was that he just grew into his adult personality. She mentioned that, unless the animal is sick, all puppies and kittens are very social by nature but they eventually grow into their specific personalities. I was so disappointed. I knew genetics played a part but thought, considering he was just a domestic short hair, that I could mold his personality with lots of positive feedback and love from me and my friends.

Well, a friendly outgoing kitty Apu was not going to be. To give you an idea of his nervousness, when I moved into my current house, I had everything moved in and then when all my friends and commotion had left, made my last trip back to my old condo to pick up Butterball and Apu. I brought them to my house and let them out in my bedroom. They were both very upset and scurried under the bed. I kept the bedroom door closed with the usual classical music playing and went on my way unpacking in the living room. After about an hour I quietly opened the bedroom door to find Butterball roaming around. After he saw me he quickly came out of the bedroom and proceeded to rub his chin on every corner wall of the house marking it as his. Apu remained under the bed. For three full days Apu stayed under the bed. I put a little makeshift litterbox under along with food and water. He barely ate or drank. During the night of the third day as I was lying in bed, he slowly crawled up on the bed (on his belly and under the covers) and crawled up onto my stomach where he stayed nervously trembling the rest of the night.

He was sweet around me but really preferred it to be just Butterball and him. Poor Butterball, sometimes I felt sorry for him as he never seemed to get a moment’s peace without Apu sneak attacking him, trying to get Butterball to wrestle with him, or scout out wherever he was sleeping and flop on top of him.



Then I developed this crazy cat lady affliction (we have our own society you know) and started taking in strays, first Sweet Pea, then Woody. Oh, Apu was not happy. Hissy fits were a regular nightly event. Then more cats started coming in. To give Apu credit, he didn’t react as violently with the rest as he did with Sweet Pea and Woody but he clearly wanted nothing to do with any of them. A peaceful coexistence eventually developed with one another with a few flare ups now and then, always between Apu and Sweet Pea or Apu and Woody.



Then last fall Butterball started losing weight. Not only was I worried sick about Butterball (since he was the best cat in the world—okay, there, I said it) but I was also worried about Apu in anticipation if anything would happen to Butterball. When Butterball started rapidly losing weight in February and becoming weak, sometimes I would have to pull Apu off of him. He would still think of Butterball as his pillow and heavily flop down on him. I could see it was making Butterball very uncomfortable, but being the sweet guy he was, he never complained or tried to get away.



(Last snuggle with Butterball)


After I had to put Butterball down in mid-March both Apu and I were grieving. I was so upset but I made a point of watching out for and paying a lot more attention to Apu. I would watch him as he would walk past Butterball’s favorite chair, stop and look up to see if his lifelong buddy was there, then slowly walk away. Apu was never a vocal cat but about a week after Butterball died, he started to meow/cry while he would walk from room to room. Apu was also never a lap cat but I found him jumping up more and more to lie down and fall asleep in my lap.

After a few months a curious thing started to happen. When a neighbor or friend would stop by, Apu would start coming out of my bedroom to greet them. Something he hasn't done since he was a kitten. When an outside cat would come in for a bite to eat or find a cool place to sleep, instead of the usual slap they might get as they walked past Apu, they got a nose to nose greeting and sometimes even a quick lick on the head from Apu!

Then one Sunday a few weeks ago I was doing yard work and walking in and out of the house. Of course, Sweet Pea and Woody were sleeping right in the doorway so I had to step over them each and every time I came in and went out. But wait, that's not Woody....could it be......

OH........MY..............GOD! It is, it's Sweet Pea and Apu. Arch enemies for six years!


I think Apu is going to be JUST fine (happy sigh).

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Odds and Ends

Sorry for the lack of posts. It seems my symptoms from the pinched nerve I had in my neck over a year ago are back. Working on the computer seems to exacerbate them--tingling in my fingers and lower arm but the worse is the painful feeling that someone is squeezing the biceps of my right arm. I can type for a little while, then the pain comes and I have to take a break. I had six weeks of physical therapy last March and April that really worked and they gave me exercises to do at home, mainly stretching of my neck and shoulders. Well, I did the exercises regularly for about two months, then slowly stopped doing them. I guess I'll have to start them up again.

****************

I had rather a scary episode early yesterday morning. Something woke me up around 4:45 Saturday morning. As I lay in bed I started to see a few flashes of light, then the gentle rumble of thunder. Oh, I love thunderstorms. When I started to hear my windchimes I decided to watch out of my bedroom window that faces the street. As I watch the storm approaching I start wondering if I should let the outside cats in. I can see them from my window all curled up on the porch wicker furniture snoozing away. It was then that I saw someone walking down the sidewalk and stop at my driveway. He then proceeds to walk up my driveway to my car and start to look in it. I freeze and realize I should call the police but I'd have to walk away from the window to grab the phone and I didn't want to lose sight of him. He never touches my car, just looks at it for a while, then takes a few steps and looks towards the side of my house. He then casually walks back down the driveway and down the sidewalk. I make sure he is past my house when I quickly call 911. The dispatcher calls back about 10 minutes later saying the police are looking for him and they would stop by my house shortly. By this time the storm is in full swing, making it seem like something from a bad TV movie. The police arrive and I give them a description of the guy and they take off again. I never heard back after that.

We have a neighborhood listserv so I put out a warning to everyone. I heard back later in the morning that two neighbors' cars had been broken into to get their GPS systems. Obviously, it must have been the same guy. Luckily, I don't have a GPS system in my car. Needless to say, I did not sleep well last night. Our neighborhood went through a rash of burglaries during the holidays in December when a lot of folks were out of town and I think this must be the same thing. Lots of folks are gone on summer vacations.

What a way to wake up on a Saturday morning!!

***************************

I think I may have made a color mistake in getting a new rug for my living room. My old rug was just a plain darker sage color synthetic from LL Bean. It worked well and I was able to keep it clean with spot cleaning for a number of years. But, with so many cats who vomit, scoot across the carpet (I won't even go into that!), and Greybeard (RIP) urinating on it, after eight years, the thing was just getting too nasty. I decided to get the same rug because of its durability, but in a natural color to brighten up the room and also in case I wanted to change the color scheme of my living room. Of course if you get anything new in my house, everyone has to check it out.




Here is what the rug looked like after about a half hour....

You can see Sweetpea's head in the lower left corner surveying his handiwork.

Since the cats rarely just sit or lay on the rug, I'm hoping the newness will wear off and it won't be so bad in the future.

*************************

I was looking through my old photos and came across this cute one of Greybeard.




This was taken on a cold March day when I was off of work. I know many folks can't understand my taking in so many cats. Especially, dealing with Greybeard, there were many times when I couldn't understand it myself. But, I came across this quote shortly after Greybeard died and it made me feel glad that I was able to take care of this old man.

You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson-