Celtic Cat Myths and Legends

I’m in the process of putting in a fairy garden. At the outset, I did not realize it would be a multi-year process.

Last summer, I removed enormous juniper shrub. It was easily 30 feet across. But on July 19th my cats were poisoned. Speculation and conjecture filled the neighborhood with everyone chiming in with a new theory about how or why it happened. Tabby pulled through, but Storm died.

I buried Storm at the site of my future fairy garden. After creating a cat-sized mound over the grave, I told my son, “This will be Storm’s Garden. Her ghost will probably spend all day catching fairies and ripping off their wings.”

The problem with that sentiment is, as onery as Storm was, fairies like cats. In Scotland and Ireland there are legends of cat-sìth—mythical fairy cats. Continue reading

The Feral Five

Meet the Feral Five: Little Bit, Ghost, Bruiser, Adventure Cat, and Hissy Kitty! They herald from a large a large feral cat colony that spans the border between Potlatch and Onaway, Idaho.

Kasey Kampster’s home is practically at the center of the feral colony’s range. She has a tender heart and a cat-killing dog, which is a rather unfortunate combination.

This summer two mama cats had litters on Kasey’s property—within reach of the dog. She managed to catch the sole remaining orphaned kitten from one of the litters. This time of year, both Helping Hands Rescue and Animal House Ferals are overwhelmed with kittens. She knew both organizations were already begging for fosters, so no help would be available there.

Not wanting the orphaned kitty to become a snack for her pooch, she posted a picture on Facebook asking for help. I told myself I wasn’t going to do it; I’d just lost a cat and wasn’t eager to take in another. Besides, Tabby is territorial and doesn’t like other cats. (Both Tabby and Storm were feral rescues from the same bloody colony.)

By the time I got off work, there still weren’t any takers for the orphan kitten. Sighing I got in the car and drove up to the Kampster’s, prepared to do my civic duty. I thought I was only picking up ONE kitten. I came home with FIVE!

I arrived to find Kasey’s husband on his knees, drill in hand, removing boards from the breezeway between the house and their deck in an attempt to catch kittens from the other litter. That litter was obviously sick. Between the three of us, we managed to catch all four of the tiny balls of fluff. I figured that if I was going to take one, I might as well take them all. That probably wasn’t one of the better decisions in my life.

There is big difference between nursing one kitten back to health, as I had done with Storm, and nursing five kittens back to health. I had Terramycin to treat the conjunctivitis in their eyes and kitten formula is readily available. But keeping 5 kittens clean is a never-ending nightmare, especially now that they are wallowing in the soft cat food before they eat it.

Over the past few days, the kittens have begun to sneeze and the oldest, Hissy Kitty, is congested. The vet thinks they need to be seen. I’ve contacted the two rescue organizations in the area. Animal House Ferals has generously offered to get the kittens spayed/neutered prior to them going to their forever homes but lacks the funds for veterinary care. Helping Hands Rescue hasn’t responded to either of the emails I sent–they are based in the LC Valley, not up here on the Palouse. That’s where you come in! Continue reading

Storm: The Cat who Lived

The topic of my most recent article for IDAHO Magazine is Storm, a blind foundling I plucked from the ditch during my morning walk. Storm was incredibly tiny when I found her and despite being gravely ill, she rallied and survived. She even managed to overcome blindness. But, what is really remarkable about this tale is that neither the veterinarian nor I killed her.

To explain that last sentence, I need to back up a few years. Continue reading

The Witch’s Familiar

‘Tis the season to celebrate cats. Halloween cards and decorations feature black cats sporting witches’ hats, slinking through graveyards, and riding on brooms. Halloween is synonymous with fun—and frights, but for cats, Halloween tricks can seem all too real. Strangers slink through the neighborhood. Unusual smells and horrifying noises fill the air. Costumes turn ordinary people into monsters. Make no mistake, Halloween is a spooky time for cats. Those frights come with an even more frightening history. Continue reading

Guns and Cats

I am a gun owner and a cat owner.  Judging from the reactions of the overly ferocious crazy-cat-lady NRA types out there, you’d think I owned neither.

Like the makers of this supper-cute video, I don’t want big mean strays in the neighborhood.  Especially not the big feral tom cat that terrorizes small children and dogs.  Nor do I want bump-stocks and AR 15’s in the neighborhood.  Especially not in the hands of the delusional man on the corner who also terrorizes small children and dogs.  Unfortunately, the gun-waving-crazy-cat-lady-NRA members of the world want you to believe people like me, who want regulations for guns and cats, want to eradicate all guns and all cats.  And that simply isn’t true.

I may never understand why some many people believe guns and cats are an all-or-nothing issue when there are clearly options in the middle.

Feral Cat Fiasco

My story, Feral Cat Fiasco: Lovable Until They’re Not, is featured in the January 2018 edition of Idaho Magazine.  There were several edits to the story so as not to offend the sensibilities of the magazine’s readers.  However, I have no such apprehensions, so you can read a bit that was cut from the story below.

Also, to see more information about my troubles with feral cats, check out this post on Feral Cat Solutions.

The Cut Bit:

Well, if they want to maintain a feral cat colony, let them do it at their house, I thought.  And that’s when an idea took root. Continue reading

Feral Cat Solutions

This morning I met with the Latah County Commissioners.  I have included my PowerPoint presentation here:

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Because I gave more detail in the presentation than is contained in the PowerPoint slides, I have attached a PDF of my notes: Feral Cat Fact Sheet.

And you can see the letter I wrote to the County Commissioners which resulted in my being granted an audience here: May 18-Cats

Since submitting the SNAP application on May 15, 2017 I have managed to capture 3 kittens.  It’s been a month and SNAP has yet to contact me regarding my application, so their statement that it may take up to a month to receive a decision is false.  It clearly takes OVER a month.  And in case you’re curious, that mama cat, who had the first litter last year, and another litter this year, is pregnant again.  Obviously, taking prompt action to reduce the number of stray and feral animals isn’t much of a concern for them.

Continue reading