Sunday, December 27, 2015

Annabel Lee and Lenore, Returned

Unfortunately, Annabel Lee and Lenore's new home didn't work out. Their new human had a bad allergic reaction to the kitties and it set off an asthma attack.

So, for now- the girls are back in town. Their profiles on the St Francis website have been reactivated so that we can work on finding them a new forever home. Until then, the ladies are rediscovering the house and getting back on good terms with the housecats and the current fosterlings.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Cowmeowflage by Kitler

Holiday Adoptions

Mina Harker and Dorian Grey

Mina and Dorian have been adopted together and will be picked up tomorrow by a lovely couple. I am so very happy this bonded pair of siblings will get to stay together.

Until then, Mina is busily spending as much time as possible on my face and overlapping my personal space. I'm fine with this right up until the time she puts her nose inside my nose. Currently, she is sitting on my shoulder like a terrible parrot while I type this.

This makes it pretty hard to type, you know. I put up with a lot.


Heathcliff was adopted and picked up by his new moms today. He's settling into his new digs and even sent me the following 'letter' and selfie:

Hey foster mommie! I have had a full day...lots of new places n sounds. I am a lil skidish but am being a good boy. I just had dinner and played with a fishing pole toy n gettn used to my new digs. I will keep u posted. I hope u arent sad!

Well, this may be the first time I have received a letter from a cat, but I do hope it isn't the last. This little fella was such a sweetheart and I can't even begin to say how happy I am that he has such a loving new home.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Portrait of Dorian Grey

At first blush, this kitten is beautiful. He started off a little bit shy when he first arrived and I've discovered that his skittish behavior is triggered by loud people who are moving around a lot. However, as soon as everyone settles down, Dorian Grey is ready to make some friends.

The genetics of cats are a fascinating thing and there are so many factors to consider. With stray and feral kittens we very rarely can know what parents (other than the mother) were involved and what the father might have looked like. One litter of kittens can have multiple fathers, which makes things even more difficult. What I can tell you about Dorian is that he is decidedly grey. His coat looks similar to that of a Russian Blue but he has an elongated face which is reminiscent of Asian cat breeds like the Korat cat. In bright light, you can see distinct stripes on his tail which may point to a tabby pattered cat in his ancestry. Regardless, he's glorious.

He's also a very friendly little man. While his sister Mina Harker is almost aggressively friendly and will climb up to rub herself on faces, Dorian is a bit more laid back. He's content to receive love while sprawled out along side you on the couch or to drape himself across your lap.

Mina Harker and Dorian Grey are a beautiful and friendly bonded pair of siblings. I'd very much like to find them a home together. It will need to be the right home though... it will need to be a home where someone will be happy with two kitties that will adore you, sometimes getting in your face about how much they like you.

These two have a lot of love to give. I just need to find them someone who will love them back just as much.

Mina Harker is a Face Cat

Some people think cats are standoffish and not as friendly as man's best friend, which just means they have never met a Face Cat. Have you ever met a face cat? No? Let me tell you about Face Cats...

Mina Harker wants to be close to you...

What I mean by close is mostly: overlapping.

I have to tell her she is too close when her nose is *inside* of my nose. I'm not that kind of cat lady.

Want to read a book? Ha! Face Cat needs your face and that book is in the way of what this kitten needs. Want to watch TV? Ha! A Face Cat needs all of your attention.

Face Cat also learned how to tap the phone to take photos and how to swipe through photos. I found this alarming. Thankfully Mina Harker is a Face Cat and needs my face, otherwise I might be more worried. If she learns how to open cans though... my days may be numbered.

If you need a lover, Mina Harker and Dorian Grey might just be the kittens for you. While Mina wants to share the same space that your head is occupying, Dorian is cool with laying on your lap or just chilling out beside you with his head on your leg. They are both such beautiful cats and so ridiculously friendly, well, someone is going to be a lucky pet owner if they adopt this pair.

 I'll try to get some pics of Dorian tonight if Mina does not swipe the phone...

Thursday, December 10, 2015

League of Extraordinary Kittens: Mina Harker and Dorian Grey

Mina Harker

Clad in black and sharp in tooth and claw, this girl kitten is approximately 8-10 weeks of age. She is a touch shy at first, but warmed up after a few minutes of sitting still she became curious and approached me. Within moments, she had climbed into my lap for cuddles and the booping of snoots. She took quite a while to examine me, and when she was done I started with the petting. And then the purring began. She is all black in coat with just a small cluster of a few white hairs at her throat.

"I feel a wonderful peace and rest tonight. It is as if some haunting presence were removed from me. Perhaps..." Mina Harker's Journal, 5 October 1891.

Dorian Grey

Dorian Grey is a Russian Blue mix with a coat like smoke. He is at first quite timid and was less brave than his sister. After the liberal application of cat treats, blinky eyes, cat toys and soft words, he finally approached me. His fur is amazingly soft. It took a few tries to get more that just a single pet. After another couple dozen minutes we settled into an amicable arrangement of gentle petting and soft purring.

“Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.” The Picture of Dorian Grey

Monday, December 7, 2015

Caramel and the Caramelites

This past March I got back into the kitten saving business after a few years off. I started out with Caramel.

Caramel was living in the feral colony at my condo complex. She was always around, she was lovely and she was very, very pregnant. She looked like she had swallowed a whole cantaloupe. Luckily, Caramel was also pretty friendly. In my visits to the feral colony she would twine between my feet and once even brought me a dead squirrel. At that point I was pretty sure she was people friendly enough to be re-homed after her kittens were born.
Step one was to trap Caramel. This took one trap, twenty minutes and a can of wet food. In short, it wasn't very hard. Next, I installed her in the Kittenasium, which is also known as my screen porch. I made her comfortable, tricked out an old dog crate to be a nice spot for giving birth, and then we waited. Impossibly, she just kept getting bigger. By the time she finally had her kittens she was comically big. 

After almost 2 weeks of Kitten Watch 2015, I came home to find my pretty lady with four tiny floof balls. 

They four babies started out as Snickers, Rolo, Left Twix and Right Twix. (left to right below)

The names showed that each had a little bit of Caramel in them. Now, 10 months later all four have forever homes. Here's a few baby pictures:

Rolo was a grey marble tabby. I fell in love with her and had a total foster fail. Foster fail means that she never left my house. Her name is now Scully and she is my boon companion. She sleeps next to me, sits next to me and when I paint she sits on the back of my chair and watches over my shoulder.

Next was Snickers. Snickers was a grey tiger tabby girl. Her name is now Isolde and she is now the companion of a young man named Tristan. 

And then we had a pair of ginger tabby boys. We had a pretty hard time telling them apart because they looked so similar. So, we called them Left Twix and Right Twix. 

This pair is now named Cheeto and Dorito. They live with Mira and her son Zyan. Apparently they have a pretty great life.

Mama kitty Caramel now lives with Sue and her other rescue kitty, Sable. From feral colony to beloved pets, things works out pretty well for Caramel and the Caramelites.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Forever Home: Lenore & Annabel Lee

Well, Lenore and Annabel Lee had a date today with a potential adopter. The fantastic news is that as of next weekend, they will have a new home. Jon, their new adoptive dad enjoyed both the kittens and has already been out shopping since the visit ended. Jon's going to spend the next week getting ready and kitten proofing his home. Annabel Lee is going to be fixed on Tuesday and will have a few days to heal here with me. Next weekend, these best friend kittens are heading off into the sunset for a new life. Jon is one very lucky human. Lenore and Annabel are going to have a great life with him.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Linton, a healthy boy.

Last night mister Linton learned the joy of fuzzy blankets. As you can see, he is quite content!

After a follow up visit to the vet, we know that Linton has responded well to the antibiotics and other medications. He no longer has a sad butt. He's put on weight, is no longer dehydrated and now enjoys playing like a happy, healthy kitten. Because that is exactly what he is.

He does still have a slight limp from the damage in his ankle bones, but after a week and a growth spurt he is now putting weight on his paw. He gets around fine, climbs the cat tree and plays just like the rest of the kittens and does not seem slowed down at all by his impediment.

Linton, Catherine Earnshaw, Heathcliff and Annabel Lee are all getting fixed next week. After a few days of healing, they will be entirely ready to go off to new homes!

From sick and listless, Linton now seems an entirely different kitten. He is sweet, playful and happy. He's also a cuddle bug and is looking forward to a place with a fuzzy blanket of his very own.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Catbooks: Funding the Cattery

Available titles
To help supplement the cost of life and pets, I do side work as a calligrapher and have an Etsy store where I sell prints of my artwork. You should shop there- lots of fun geeky gifts made by your friendly neighborhood kitten wrangler.

I also now make Catbooks.

Catbooks are felt handmade cat toys and each book is stuffed with two pockets of catnip for maximum literary enjoyment. Right now I'm just making them for friends but I'll probably start taking orders at some point soon and add them to the Etsy store.

Until then, this both amuses me and helps to support the kitties and their keeper. New titles coming soon.

Already sold

Naughty Lenore caught reading catp0rn

Cat tested

Kitten approved

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Adventures in Being a Cat Lady: Shopping

Kitten dinner scrum. Top left Lenore (no tail), clockwise: Linton,
Catherine Earnshaw, Annabel Lee and Heathcliff.
Yesterday I went to KMart to pick up cat food. A lot of cat food. Somehow both the kitten and adult kibble bins were down to crumbs and the canned food supply dwindled to just two cans. Caring for  5 growing kittens and my 3 cats requires a ridiculous amount of dry food, wet food, litter, litter deodorizer, paper plates, and air fresheners. I end up buying most things in bulk, because I will use it eventually.

Anyway, K-Mart was having some good kibble sales, so off I went. I checked out with 16lbs of adult kibble, 12lbs of kitten kibble, 32 cans of wet food in various meaty flavors, a package of 100 paper plates, 2 bags of tortilla chips, and some air freshener wax melts. While ringing up my items, the young man behind the register seemed to frown a bit, and twice started as if he was about to speak, but stopped himself.

As he was bagging the purchase, he shyly said to me: "If you don't have any family, my church does a great Christmas dinner and you would be welcome to join us. They have ham, turkey, spaghetti and lots of other stuff. It's a nice way to spend the holiday."

Oh God, I have been taken for a crazy cat lady.

I wanted to argue back that I had friends, I had family and I wasn't just a cat lady... but he had been so sweet and sincere I just couldn't. Instead, I asked him the name of the church and then thanked him for his kind offer, assuring him I'd think about it and promising not to spend the holiday alone.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

You Can Help.

Lately, I've been told by a lot of people that what I do is awesome and that I'm great for doing it. To be honest, I really like kittens and I have a soft spot for broken things and foundlings. My experience as a volunteer fostering these animals may be labor intensive, sometimes involves a lot of driving and may involve cleaning a lot of cat boxes... but I also get kittens. All the kittens I can stand. And then I get to watch them go to new homes where they will be loved. That in itself is pretty damned rewarding.

However, some of our animals arrive with problems and animal health care can be expensive. We have a great vet partner, but St Francis Society Animal rescue can still use more help. The care for Lenore, Linton and all of our other kitties includes shots, blood tests, spay/neuter and additional medical care as needed. These costs are taken care of by the St Francis Society Animal Rescue of Tampa, Florida. If you are moved by the stories of these rescue kitties and want to help out, there are several ways you can do so.

  1. Donate money to St Francis Society. This cash is used to pay for medicines, vet expenses, surgeries and more for Lenore, Linton and countless other animals who come to us in all sorts of shapes. 
  2. Check out the St Francis Society wishlist and send them items that they need. Their physical mailing address is on the page so you can busy stuff online and have it shipped to them, or you can drop it off at one of their Tampa locations
  3. Adopt a pair of our fabulous rescue cats and kittens. Everything is better in pairs, especially cats! Each adoption opens up space for our volunteers to foster more animals.
  4. Sponsor St Francis Society. If you happen to be high up in a company that makes charitable donations, please consider your company sponsoring St Francis Society.
  5. Volunteer to foster some cats! It's rewarding, you meet great animals and get to watch them go to awesome homes. It's rewarding and at the end of the day you feel appreciated by the animals, the adoptive families and even the other volunteers. It's a pretty great group. If you have a spare bedroom or bathroom and are not deathly allergic to cats, you can do this too. It's an adventure, but it is an adventure with purring and that makes it pretty unique.
  6. Volunteer at one of our adoption centers. Every weekend, volunteers can be found in a number of local pet stores manning adoption tables and events. You can hang out and play with kitties and help play matchmaker for families that need kitties. 
  7. If you are one of my friends and want to help on a more personal level, you can come over and help me socialize kittens, drop off a bag of cat food or send a gift certificate for litter. I get mine shipped to me in 40lb bags from Amazon. Money shoved into my hand or in my bra also seems to work. 
Thanks to the following folks for their recent support. I cannot tell you how amazing you are enough times for me to feel like I have thanked you satisfactorily, so let me tell the world that you have helped:
  • Jill S
  • Jennifer K
  • Brian W
  • Lisa P
  • Melissa T
  • Jim T
  • Janet S

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Night Vet Night!

It was a action packed adventure night for Madam Lenore and Mr Edgar Linton. Lenore was already scheduled to visit the fine folks at Westchase Veterinary for a post-op check and Linton got a unexpected trip right with her.

Here's the run down of my hot Friday night date night:


Lenore is awesome. She's happy. She purrs like a motor and her wounds are healing just fine. She's also an escape artist who can untie a double bow and take off her own collar. Seriously, it's like she has thumbs. She gets to spend a few more days in the Bathroom of Chill before returning to Gen Pop.


Linton came from a litter of kittens that had a rough start. However, since intake his siblings are thriving, whereas he is not. All three kittens came in with diarrhea but after intake medications were applied, his siblings got better. Linton, not so much. He also was favoring a paw and limping, but it was thought that might be a slight sprain and I was told to let it heal for a few days and see what happened. Well, it didn't get better.

So, with bloated belly, diarrhea, a limp and and extremely inflamed anus (which, might someday make for a solid punk band name), Linton got the go-ahead to get a checkup. In short, he's a sick kitty. He's dehydrated, likely has an infection lurking in his digestive system, has a joint that might be permanently damaged, and for the time being he has a very ouchy backside. I'll be kind and not include a photo of that.

This has won Linton a private, all expenses paid, convalescent retreat in the middle of beautiful Tampa, Florida. His quarters include a snuggly afghan, a private bath and private dining quarters. He will also enjoy toys that shall not be stolen by his siblings and he shan't be pounced upon by a soul until he is feeling a bit better.

His luxurious quarters are the inside of a very large dog crate in my living room. Additionally, tonight I learned that disposable lasagna pans make decent insta-litterboxes.

Linton's treatment plan consists of:
  • Sub-cutaneous fluids administered at the vet office. I got to watch a kitten leak extra fluid. That was... unique.
  • Metronidazole (anti-diarrheal medication) and Albon (sulfadimethoxine, an antibiotic used to treat coccidia infections which are a common cause of severe diarrhea) mix, administered twice daily in .5 ml doses.
  • Buprenex (pain medication) administered one every 12 hours in a .3 ml dose.
  • Rest
  • Snuggles
Blessedly, both medications are delivered by oral route, so I don't need to make him more miserable by shoving solid objects down his throat or... inserted by other means. 

Linton goes back in 7 days for a re-check where we'll also culture up a stool sample and see what's cooking in his insides. Hopefully, his inflamed wrist is also a result of infection and the swelling will be reduced by then so we can figure out what is going on in the joint. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Annabel Lee

The last of the original Poe kittens, Annabel Lee is still with me and will soon be looking for a new forever home. She's best friends with foster kitten Lenore, so we're hoping to find them a placement where both kittens can go together.

Lady, why you wakes me? I was sleepings in the basket so happy.

I sleeps on faces too!
She's a sweet little puffball in black with long fur but a thinish coat that gives her the look of the Lykoi cat. It has been noted that this kitten looks like werewolf, wookie, cat, Scottish Terrier and Grover DNA all got mixed together and took cat form.

She's also one of the most sweet and loving kittens I have had the pleasure with which to work. Her current hobbies include chasing toys, exploring boxes, sitting on my shoulder like a terrible parrot and attempting to sleep on my face.

Currently, she is waiting by the door to the bathroom where Lenore is in her post surgery quarantine. They chirp back an forth to each other through the gap under the door. I've very much hoping that Lenore's checkup appointment tomorrow will allow me to put these kittens back together.

Sacked out after playing with an Amazon box and filler paper, plus some new toys.

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

Historic Cats: Pangur Bán

Lutrell Psalter, f°190r (detail)

In addition to fostering cats, I study the medieval period, especially the art form known as illumination. This art was used to decorate the books of the middle ages and comes in all sorts of forms from glorious to silly, breathtaking to irreverent. I also have an appreciation for poetry both modern and medieval. If you combine all of these things that I love into one place, you get Pangur Bán.

The poem Pangur Bán comes from the 9th century and was written by an Irish monk in a book known as the Reichenau Primer. The Primer itself is a collection of hymns and grammatical texts that was likely pen practice for a scribe. Preserved in the book is also the poem in which the author compares his work of study to the work of his cat hunting mice. 

The cat's name in the poem is Pangur Bán, which is not so much a name as it is a description of the cat. In Irish, the word Bán means fair or white. Pangur, however is not an Irish word. The Welsh word pannwr means fuller, which was a job in the middle ages. A fuller used a combination of washes, scouring and felting to remove oils, dirt and impurities from wool cloth. At the end of the process, the wool would be a bright clean white, as well as soft and strong. In short, Pangur Bán was likely an all white and beautiful cat. Today, we'd probably say the cat was dazzling white or sparkling white in color. He also seemed to be especially good at mousing, enough that he inspired a monk at study to write a poem about the similarities of their work.

So, here is the poem, translated from the Irish by Robin Flower.

Pangur Bán
Cat and mouse, Hours of Charlotte of Savoy, 
Paris, France, ca. 1420-1425, f° 165r (detail)

I and Pangur Ban my cat,
'Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight,
Hunting words I sit all night.

Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen;
Pangur bears me no ill-will,
He too plies his simple skill.

'Tis a merry task to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.

Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur's way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.

'Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.

When a mouse darts from its den,
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!

So in peace our task we ply,
Pangur Ban, my cat, and I;
In our arts we find our bliss,
I have mine and he has his.

Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.

Created by @LauraEAydelotte with images of materials from Ms. Codex 724 
at the Kislak Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Patient Zero

He goes with the furniture!
For me, the 2015 Kitten Season was kicked off by Patient Zero. In a bid to not get attached, I figured I would just number the kittens as they arrived. The first catch of the season was seized from under some shrubbery near one of the pools in the condo complex with the help of my accomplices Jennie and Brian. The other litter mate slipped away and I was never able to spot it again, but Patient Zero stuck out like a sore thumb.

It isn't every day that you find what looks like a Tonkinese kitten hanging out in the shrubs. Tonkinese is a crossbreed of a Siamese cat with a Burmese cat. With the addition of the white paws which are not a Tonkinese trait, and the slight swirl of marble tabby that was faintly visible in the cream fur, I took a guess that this kitten was likely a Natural Point Tonkinese crossed with tabby. Mom was a white and black spotted cat, so I'm guessing she had a pretty sexy hookup with an exotic pal one night. They other kitten was a grey tabby, so I'm guessing mom got around a bit. Cat genetics are utterly fascinating.

A fine art companion.
This kitten was hissy as hell and would growl and take swipes at me. However, he was only about 5 weeks old, so it was mostly just cute. He settled down in a few days and found that life on the inside did not suck even a little bit. After the bathing and de-fleaing and then the forcible lovings and squishy food, Patient Zero got with the program pretty quickly. After one particular bath session, the little fellow totally passed out on my friend Lisa B's lap. I can her the hissy cat whisperer.

That is a happy kitten.
One thing that I knew for certain: a kitten this gorgeous was going to find a home very, very quickly. One sad truth of fostering strays and feral cats is that exotic looking kittens or ones with striking markings often get snapped up quickly, while tiger tabby cats and black cats languish in foster and sanctuary care.

This worked in favor for Patient Zero and he found an adoptive mom rather quickly. I am told that he is king of his domain and is regularly spoiled by his new mom. With his ice blue eyes, Patient Zero was renamed Sub Zero in his new home. Sub Zero was our first placement success of the 2015 season.

Here's a recent picture from his mom, Angel:

Being so handsome is exhausting!