Home Sweet Home

Lessons From A Cat on A 30-Year Old Roof

1.  The cat has no problem being on the roof.

2. You are the one with the problem.

3. The cat doesn’t care. She is having a wonderful time.

4. It will seem insane, but if the cat got up, the cat get down herself.

5. Still you will try and you will fail.

6. Tuna is a good idea to try and coax the cat down or at least closer to you.  The cat will use this as a way to torment you. Be prepared for these emotional games.

7. Going up on the roof is not a good idea at night, when it is windy or when your roof is thirty years old.

8. Cussing at the cat in a sweet tone will not work either.

9. When the cat comes down she will act as if nothing happened. Arguing with her is foolish just go pour yourself a glass of wine. It will be cheaper than therapy or getting a dog.

Nothing to see here. I wasn't on the roof for in indeterminate amount of time.  I mean, meow...
Nothing to see here. I wasn’t on the roof for indeterminate amount of time. I mean, meow…

End of the Invasion

Marco and Pollo want you to join the Kitten Protection League. All the kittens have homes and my days in the rescue games are over, for the time being. I simply don’t have the time or the money to continue. I will help out by contributing when I can by donating to local foster groups and to spay and neuter programs. 

The rescue of the kittens is bittersweet since two more litters have born since then. Still, I cannot thank the folks that helped find homes or took in a kitten themselves enough for what they have done. We couldn’t save them all, but now six kittens will have a chance to grow up.

While the colony is growing, two more cats have been run over since my last post. And as I have said before, they didn’t have to die. This is not a problem caused by cats.  Sadly, one of the cats who perished was an un-neutered male who father many of the streets’ kittens.  He was a house-cat whose caretaker thought that it was cute that he was out making babies. Cute, but destructive.

The cat colony in my neighborhood loves to use the sandy soil in some folk’s yards as their litter box, which prevents anything from growing in those spots. Worse, those places are right along the sidewalk and dogs love to eat the kitty droppings which can transmit diseases. In addition, the colony in my neighborhood is not healthy. The kittens in my care were found to have coccidia and roundworms both of which are highly transmittable to both humans and cats.  The cats also hide underneath cars, crawl in engines and have taken to peeing on one man’s convertible top. They have taken over the driveway of one duplex to the point where the residents pulling in have to stop and get out of their cars to move them out of the way.   The neighbors who once were determined to help the colony now are calling animal control desperate for them to take care of the problem. The city has yet to respond. In a busy working neighborhood like mine it could be months or years until the problem is taken care of, if it is solved at all.

My two kitty boys are spending more and more time indoors, much to their dismay. Jack still accompanies Luke and me on walks, but is carried inside afterwards.  They don’t like it, but it is best for them and for the neighborhood.  Contact with the strays can lead to them becoming ill and the birds of the neighborhood don’t need my boys shortening their life expectancy. Come to think of it, there aren’t many birds or squirrels around.

Sadly, the cat colony on my street is a part of a growing problem worldwide.  Stray and Feral cats are now considered to be an invasive species.  Yes, you heard me. They are considered to be an invasive species, which has been linked by some to 33 different bird species going extinct. Many feel that the problem is not a domestic animal issue but a wildlife management issue. They may have a point.  In Australia, they are experimenting by allowing the native dingo population to increase in order to combat their feral cat issue. Residents here in the U.S. would not take kindly to the wildlife officials allowing coyotes to increase their numbers to decrease feral cat numbers. Sterilization or euthanizing the cats are two other solutions. Many people, including myself, do not want to see the cats killed, but after seeing so many die on my small street I cannot help but consider that a peaceful death preferable to that horrifying ending.Spay&Save

My pets or furry companions contribute so much to my life and while taking care of them can at times be a sacrifice it is well worth it. SpayNSave is a non-profit group located in Central Florida whose mission is to reduce pet overpopulation by offering high-volume, low-cost spay & neuter surgeries. They also educate the community about responsible pet ownership.  No animal is disposable.  Trap and Release programs are wonderful when funded and when they can successfully catch, fix and release at least 71% of a colony.  And while some feral cats can be successfully integrated into homes, not all can make the transition. Even worse many cats that make their way to shelters die before finding homes because the shelters cannot afford to keep them.  No-kill shelters are wonderful but they cannot keep up with the demand. They need our help.

If you can, please consider donating to your local rescue group or shelter. Every penny can help. And in the immortal words of Bob Barker, please spay or neuter your pets.

Book Review: All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome

all-cats-have-asperger-syndromeBook: All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome

Author: Kathy Hoopmann

Available: Barnes & Noble, Amazon ($10.95 – $14.95)

Rarely do I venture into bookstore or any major retail store during the holidays unless it Target, but this year I went in search a present for a very special two month old girl.  Truthfully, I had spotted it weeks ago, but I wanted my Momma’s opinion on it.  We were attempting to make our way out of the store when we spot Kathy Hoopmann’s book, “All Cats have Asperger Syndrome”.  We both stopped in our tracks.Love

All Cats have Asperger Syndrome is a beautiful book that elegantly illustrates aspects of Asperger Syndrome that are often hard for adults to define. For families trying to explain what Asperger Syndrome is to others including their children while still working to understand it themselves this book is heaven sent.  Each page of the book has a brief insight into what an Aspie is experiencing and feeling.  It does not attempt to explain the causes or go into detail about the effects of the syndrome.

Sure, he may need a little help following fashionable trends, but don’t forget, everyone is different in his own way and there is a little bit of Asperger is us all.

This book to me is beauty in simplicity.

allcats1Australian born Hoopmann lives in Dubi with her family where she continues to write.  Learn more about this author on her website.

Big Dog … Little Dog..

Are you a big dog or a little dog person? Or are you a cat person?

Can’t I just be a homo sapien sapien? Why do I have to choose a label for you or anyone else? I am a pet owner, really an animal companion. I love my fuzzy and not so fuzzy kids; calling them pets seems a little demeaning given what they mean to me.  Luke is curled up at my back as I type this, just because he wants to be close to me. He isn’t fussing at me for being awake at three in the morning.

Big dog, little dog.. it doesn’t really matter to me so long as my puppy and me are happy and get along.  I was looking for a smaller dog, but then Luke came along I knew he was the one and like in any good relationship when you find the right one you don’t mess with it.

I understand that some people pick their animal companions based size and convenience.  There are practical concerns when bringing any home any animal. There are reasons I don’t have an African Spurred Tortoise or llama.  I live in a small rental house and my teaching salary isn’t as fabulous as politicians seem to think it is.

I was worried about getting a big dog because of my shoulder issues.  Luke, thankful, doesn’t pull and is pretty chill except when I come home.  We are working on the attacking Momma  when she steps in the door issue.  My attempts to find a smaller puppy-dog didn’t work out.  Either I didn’t get a response to my inquires or the adoption fee was simply too much.

Maybe the reason people ask if you are big or small dog person is they are trying to be something they are not and justify their choices.

Luke works for my life all fifty-five pounds of him and I work for him..

Luke the Puppy Dog

My Happy Puppy Tail Ending

This post was going to wait a month so that I could be sure that Luke was going to be staying with me.  A week into our relationship I can’t imagine life without him.  He is my puppy-dog  and I am his person.

How Luke Came To Live in My Little Yellow House

The day after I posted the update about Tank my friend ,Mike, sent a plea into cyber space via Facebook asking if anyone could offer Luke a home.  He had been getting into trouble on the farm and after one of the sheep suffered an attack from all four of the dogs, a new home needed to be found. Luke wasn’t the instigator just young and enthusiastic.  Still they couldn’t keep him around the farm animals.

So, I called Mr. Mike and drove out to Geneva late in the afternoon.  The road was bumpy and had to stop twice for some Gopher Turtles that were sunning themselves in the middle of the dusty tracks .

Luke and his buddies were hanging out in the dog yard.  He was wiggly and just pleased as punch to be meeting a new person.  We took him into the house so adults could talk.   Mike explained that his home was the second for Luke. His first parents discovered they were expecting a child soon after they took him in; they already had two other dogs.  Three dogs and an expectant lady don’t mix, especially one with Like’s energy. It wasn’t an easy decision for the family; to give you an idea his tag read – Luke call Mommy with their number.

Are you my Mommy?

In the end, as you might have guessed, Luke came home with me.  He was so excited to be going on a car ride that he hopped in before we had finished loading his crate.  When we were finally ready to go, he sat himself in the driver’s seat with a happy puppy grin and that wiggly tail moving a million miles an hour.

True to what Mikey’s word, he was awesome in the car and in perfect little gentleman in the pet store. Meeting my friend, Stew, he was relaxed and soon settled down in between the two of us for nap.

Momma, we have to talk…

The kitty boys and him  are getting along, not exactly living in harmony, but no fights or fur flying through the house. He sleeps on my bed at night and since his entrance I have been sleeping through the night.

We have our issues.  Luke won’t go potty while on his leash so everyday we walk to a neighbor’s house so he can run around in the yard and do his business.  Strange, but completely true.  He still prefers my seat to his own in car. In the mornings, he goes with me to get my coffee loving each moment of the ride around the block.  Sometimes, he even lets me back in the car before sniffing the elixir of life.

Is this your seat?

My New Hobby – Exhaustion

Last Thursday night, I fell asleep at 7:30 and woke up in time to go to work the next morning.  I did it again last night.

This evening, I feel asleep once again around seven and  woke up three hours ago. My kitty boys gently reminded me that I had other things to do beyond sleeping.

Jack and Nu Mu

My house is a bit cleaner now, litter box and turtle tank included.  The boys are happy, well except for the kitty who is confined to the potty room but that is another story.  There is more work to be done, but then again there is always more work.

Deciding to clean my house wasn’t an attempt at perfection, far from it. It was an attempt to breathe.

Exhaustion is something that with my work current schedule, I can’t avoid.  Between job no. 1 teaching and job no.2 answering phones for a local theme park, I have worked the last eight days straight. I still have five more days before I have a day off. On top of all of this, I agreed several months ago to chaperone the senior trip to Universal’s Grad Night.  It was a blast and I was happy to do it.

I have also written more than five thousand works on my latest project, read about twenty student research papers and designed lessons for four different classes.

Cleaning the house tonight will allow me just a bit more relaxation time this week and provides me with a little more mental clarity. A clean house may not actually be next to godliness, but it is next to sanity.

It was my choice to clean tonight; no one forced or pressured me.

It is a choice that I am proud of; along with my choice to be positive and happy.  Sometimes we forget that those are choices. We wait for the perfect time to do this or that and never let ourselves breathe. Never let ourselves see the man on the street doing the robot dance as he waits for a safe time to cross the street or let out a laugh because we remember doing that in the fourth grade. We are too focused on getting to the store and using our coupons to save another fifty cents. We will drive an extra ten miles do so; never taking into account the gas we are using or the time.

My time is precious.   It is as valuable as my happiness.

Tomorrow afternoon when I walk in the front door my floors will be clean, the living and dining rooms will be free of clutter and the bedroom won’t contain a basket of clothes waiting for my attention. Then I will be able to take part in my latest hobby-exhaustion napping.  If I wake up before the morning alarm goes off, sweet. Otherwise, I will just let my body exercise its own choice to be happy and sleep.

Exams, Cars and Delays

This week my students take their mid-semester exams. It also marks the beginning the semi-annual whine festival; especially among the seniors.  Their continued enrollment and graduation is on the line.  Participation in the program is voluntary.  If students aren’t benefiting from the program then they can go back to their home school.  If they aren’t attending or they are failing they aren’t benefiting from it. It sounds rough, but it is the reality. There is a waiting list with anxious parents calling daily.

We celebrate their success, but it has to be genuine success.  If they don’t their assignments or attend class, there is nothing for to cheer them for.  Somewhere along the line they learned to expect to things to be given to them, even grades.  They think if they do the work, no matter when or how, that they should get credit. They talk back and do all manner of disrespectful things.  Yet, We love them.

Each and everyone of them.

Not all of them are whiners. But they are all teenagers and mothers. They all deserve a quality education, even if they don’t understand why they need it.

So we give them chance after chance, but then there comes the day when their nine lives have run out and there is nothing more we can do or should do. That’s when we have to stand back and let them have their dose of reality. We let them fail, fall on their bums and dust themselves off.

Please don’t respond telling me that I am a saint.  I am not.  Plus, it makes me uncomfortable when people call me or my fellow teachers one. We are all human beings.

Beings that love what we do and don’t give up on the girls, but that doesn’t make us saints.  We are beings with mortgages, heart aches and issues.

I am real person with faults and problems. Right now my car is in the shop and I don’t have the money to free it. The pantry and frig are nearly as empty as my checking account. I am stressing over that and the fight my furry kids had. One has a gash in his leg, wounded tail and damaged ego.  Jack spent the entire day on top of the cabinets watching his canine brother.  My dearest Boogie is scratched up and feeling guilty.

For a couple of hours last night, I was angry and then fell into a pit of self pity. I crawled out with some furry love and the wise words of an old friend.  I don’t have the confidence of a saint nor do I want to placed on a pillar; it is too hard to balance and they are awful high.

Also, saints don’t procrastinate. Their bad habits are wash away by time and admiration. Mine haven’t been cleansed. No amount of praise is going to transform me into a saint.  I delay at times doing I know should and needs to be done; mostly because getting started on something is often the hardest thing to do. I have issues and anxieties which still cause me to put off things and pull the covers over my head.  Just try getting me into the doctor’s office.

I even delay writing, something I love. Maybe it is stress… and being a real live human being complete with issues sans the halo.