Thursday, October 14, 2010

National Feral Cat Day

Once upon a time, if you told someone you were feeding a feral cat you probably would have heard “Better not do that – the cat will hang around forever.”

Thankfully, things have changed!

October 16, 2010 is the tenth anniversary of National Feral Cat Day. We are fortunate to have many wonderful organizations dedicated to educating people about the best way to help feral felines.

My four cats started out as feral kitties. It was spring 1998, and I saw a black mama cat carrying kittens in her mouth as she came and went from my yard.

My dog, Jake, found them, and instead of having them for dinner he brought them in and raised them.

The thought that these sweet furballs could have been left to fend for themselves brings me to tears. But that’s what happens to outside cats – they’re on their own, unless we help them.

Whether you want information on TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) or how to help a feral cat in need, here are some online resources that might be of interest to you:

Feral Cat Coalition
Alley Cat Allies
The Humane Society

My four feral kitties became the feline loves of my life. I can't imagine what life would have been like without them. So the next time someone warns me not to feed a feral cat because it might hang around forever, I know exactly what to tell them:

"I certainly hope so."


Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Walking Stick

It was just a stick.

I found it about 12 years ago at the Oregon coast, waiting for me along one of the paths that ran along the beach.

So I brought it home, never knowing at the time how much I would come to rely on that stick.

I didn’t know it would accompany me on all the walks I took with my dog, Jake, until his loss in 2006.

It's funny, really, because I had broken my previous walking stick on one of my morning treks through the woods with Jake. He had taken off after the deer who were running through the trees, and when he wouldn't come back I jammed my stick into the ground, hit a rock, and that was that!

I leaned heavily on my new stick during our record-breaking snow storm in December 2008, when I was stranded for 10 days over the holidays. I used the stick to get up and down the hill to the nearest neighbors who COULD get out, as they generously assisted the rest of us who were stuck at home.

It was right after our snowy winter that my stick went missing. I figured it would turn up soon, hiding behind a box or standing in a dark corner. But after several months of looking without any success, I knew I had to accept that the walking stick was really gone.

Until...a got the phone call a few days ago, from the person who keeps his boat on my property.

“I’ve found your stick!” he said.”I must have used it to clean the snow off the boat after the blizzard, and it's been under the boat cover for the last year and a half!"

I welcomed it back like a runaway child who had decided to come home. The stick is now in my office, where it will stay unless I am walking with it.

The funny thing is…there is an energy now emanating from the wood that I don’t remember being there before. I suspect my stick may have had some adventures during the past year and a half that have yet to be revealed.

Perhaps, if I listen very carefully, the stick will share them with me.