Cat Lady Chronicles – No, That’s not a Maine Coon and Yes, We Do Need Cat Food

Here’s our latest adventures

Helena Cassadine seems a little down so we were able to get into a follow-up appointment with Fix’n Wag’n where she had been spayed a year ago. The good news is that she is physically healthy – her teeth are especially excellent. The bad news is that I had to drive to Ambridge and back in the rain. And we can only assume she is down because she prefers to be outside. So we are making plans to move her toward a barn home (do YOU have a barn that needs a good mouser?) by relocating her from the bathroom to the vertical crate in our bedroom. We don’t have a transfer cage (cage used to move feral or pissed off cats from a trap to a carrier or a crate) so we used a two door trap with a broken door, zip tied it up and swept her in with a broom. Worked fine if pretty bulky.

I’m using trail cams to gather information on our feral colony cats. I’m dumping those images into a Facebook album if you are curious and would like to see lots of pics of cats, raccoons, and possums. Lots of butt shots. You can get a real sense of their ongoing anxiety and hesitation. These are not content cats sunning themselves in relaxation. They are always wary, always hungry, always alert. Spaying/neutering helps A LOT.

Helena’s new digs were Spencer Cassadine’s old digs so he has now gained full bedroom privileges, minus his crate. He loves it, especially waiting until we go to bed to begin playing with his toys and having a merry time amusing himself. He does not yet show interest in leaving the room so he can get reacquainted with his mama through the safety of the crate. We created a window seat for him to still be able to take a peek at the world.

Stefano DiMera has had several veterinary trips to figure out his seizure issues. He’s now on medication and we are waiting for the next steps. He seems okay, but we can’t be sure if he’s seizing when we aren’t around. He’s a big boy – 17 lbs! He’s very playful and sweet. Quite curious about Helena.

Let me stop you here – it is important that you not romanticize this. Helena’s bond with her offspring was severed by instinct and being spayed. She hasn’t seen them face to face for a year. She doesn’t “remember” them in the way that a human being might. She spent no formative time with them after they were weaned. They might get along, they might not. But this not a reunion in the way we might describe.

I was able to trap Pretty Girl and Stavros Cassadine, get them TNVR’d and they are back with their colony. I see them both in person and on the trail cam so that’s a win-win. I also, of course, caught Buddy the missing cat and he is now with his humans. And I’m still tracking the missing cat, Diddy. Figuring out how to trap him is a challenge. But we are working on it.

We distributed donated pet food to multiple colony caretakers these past weeks along with some other items like litter, blankets, and carriers. We focus on feral cat colony caretakers who can’t often access pet food distributions (ferals are not pets.) Right now, we are really in need of more of everything on the list, especially

  • dry food (Special Kitty, Meow Mix, Purina, kitten food)
  • canned/wet food (9Lives, Meox Mix, Fancy Feast, kitten food)
  • dry treats
  • one new TRAP for a caretaker, Rose (70 year old military veteran)
  • canned tuna, sardines, and flour tortillas of all sizes (yes)

Speaking of tortillas, I learned this nifty trick from the OG cat ladies – instead of a paper plate or plastic dish, serve the wet food on a soft, flat flour tortilla. After the food is consumed by the cats, the tortillas will be consumed by raccoons and possum and BIRDS. And I’m not chasing debris around the properties. Or trying to wash feral cat dishes all of the time. Or forcing the ferals to eat from plastics that might not be good for them. Send us your tortillas!

Fending off the perpetual question about my cats “Is that a Maine Coon/Norwegian Forest cat?” Nope. While the rumors abound about especially fertile Maine Coons siring cat all over Pittsburgh, it is an urban legend. Someone would have trapped that cat. And four generations later you aren’t going to see characteristics in a photograph on my Facebook page. I assume you if I come across a Maine Coon or a Forest cat, the vet who performs the spay/neuter will inform me. It isn’t panning for gold. It is panning for the other stuff. Stahp asking!

I helped to connect some neighbors working to TNVR and set up a feeder for a seemingly new local colony.

I helped to connect some caretakers with COVID-19 vaccines.

I helped connect some military veterans who care for colonies with pet food distributions (and other stuff.)

Our cats are generally good. Coco and Muriel have vet appointments next week. Our backyard feral Oksana seems a little off so he is going to the vet soon after. Finding vets that will see feral cats is dicey.

I’m going back out to trap next week. I now have five traps to use. The colony is across four yards so I am hoping to be able to buy a cellular trail camera so I can monitor traps I place out of my line of vision so that cats don’t see me and I don’t disturb cats coming to the closer traps by tromping across the space every so often. I can set these up when trapping only and use local wi-fi or a hot spot to my phone, then I can watch the live video feed on my phone app.

Would you like to help? Here are some needs

  • Sewists and makers can help create trap covers to keep the kitties comfortable and calm after they are trapped. There are dozens of patterns.
  • Purchase traps and related equipment. Or purchase an Amazon gift card that we can apply to the total cost.
  • Join our Northside Cat Ladies & Friends Facebook group.
  • Volunteer. You don’t have to be an expert.
  • Donate
    • Venmo @Pghlesbian
    • CashApp @Pghlesbian
  • Buy stuff from our lists and send it. It is kitten season so EVERYONE needs help.
  • Know someone with a barn? Get in touch and we can direct them to the appropriate contact.
  • Buy some hot chocolate bombs through Dr. Theo Nelson to benefit community rescue groups.

TNR Pittsburgh
Helena has moved into her new digs


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