Trap-Neuter-Return part 4

Part of accepting responsibility for community cats by having them neutered and spayed is to have a place for them to live. Letting them live under the house where they were born seemed like a fine idea at first. However, it was brought up that we might pay the price of convenience by having a flea problem. So, the alternative is building a cat house.

The plans we got were from fivercats. The cost of the materials was about $100.00, but we actually spent about $200 because we bought some new tools. There are some prefabricated houses out there, but this one really does seem to be the most well thought-out house for outside cats. So my husband and I delved into building a cat house.

We spent about 2 hours making the house and roof, but we made a slight miscalculation so the roof isn’t fitting. It won’t be too hard of a fix, but we decided to rest on it and finish tomorrow. Pics to come!

Meanwhile our momcat “Scrugs” and two kittens “Sparkles and Princess” were chowing down in front of the house, and the other male cat came by tonight. I guess we’ll set the trap out for him.

It looks like more cat-house building might be in our future.


Trap-Neuter-Return Part 3

On Wednesday I set everything up at around 4:00PM to catch them. The Tomcat was in the trap within an hour. So I covered him up and put him in our carport.  I knew that I would be in for a tussle moving the awkwardly long cage, but it is quite frightful to move an 11 pound tomcat as he hisses and pops and thrashes around. I put him on the back carport, kind of terrified that his claws would somehow get through the little grates even though I rationally knew they couldn’t.

Within the next 20 minutes I had caught one little kitten on the front porch. He was pretty easy to move back to the carport. It had started to rain though so I moved all of the traps to the carport and out of the rain. I moved the tomcat and kitten inside the house where they could have quiet and not stress. I should mention that I had taken the dogs into the doggie daycare and boarded them overnight because I knew that this could get complicated otherwise. So for one night our dog room turned into a cat room.

I left the trap setup on the carport, and lo and behold by the time I got the first kitten settled another one was already in that trap. When I went to pick up that kitten mom cat gave me a stern hiss from the corner. We only had three traps, so that left us with a decision to move a kitten to a regular carrier or release a kitten to catch mom. Joe and I decided to put the kitten in the carrier, hoping that if we caught mom we would be able to make a fourth appointment at the vets office. After getting the kitten into the carrier with some careful finagling, we reset the trap to catch mom. Mom actually walked right in the trap, I think that she wanted to go where her kitten was. That left us with two adult cats and two kittens hissing in our dog room.

We hadn’t seen any sign of the other male cat or the other little male kitten for a couple of days, so we declared that we were done kitty catching for the night.

The smell the next morning was horrendous, and I slept with one eye open still fearful that the tomcat would realize his mission of breaking out of that trap and tearing every living human being to shreds in the house. I’m sure our bird was non-plussed as well with the whole situation.

I moved them all out onto the carport. The TNR hero came and brought another trap so that we could transfer the kitten out of the carrier for the vet. It’s much better for them to be in a trap where the vets can have access through the bars. Getting rid of the smell in the house was a task, but thankfully we have tile floors.

It took about an hour at the vet to check them in. They weren’t all done at the time they were supposed to be, so two trips were necessary to pick them all up. In the meantime I ran the towels and blankets they used two times through our washer, the tomcat was quite the stinker to say the least.

I brought all of the cats to a friendly ladies house who is gracious enough to let the TNR organization set up the cats in her carport to heal after their surgery. Connecting some traps together to create a suite where they had room for a litter box on one end and food dishes on the other end took about an hour.

The next few days were spent going over and feeding the cats and scooping the litter. I can’t express how thankful I am that our local cat hero also went over to feed them so that wasn’t as much of a task.

During these few days the question came up about where to shelter the cats. It’s best to provide them a shelter so they stay and no other cats move in their place (therefore giving us the same problem next year).


Trap-Neuter-Return part 2

So I called no-kill rescues. I only called two, truthfully. The second one told me that they get 60-70 calls a day from people in my situation. I didn’t want to put myself through continual rejection by calling every rescue in town, and frankly I didn’t want to bother them because they are doing a tough job and I knew that they couldn’t help. I needed another option. In the meantime my husband spotted yet a third kitten, and another male started hanging around the house. I needed my option quickly.

Being the queen of google, I discovered that there was a trap-neuter-return program in my area. I contacted them through facebook and have learned a ton about the process. It’s definitely the most responsible thing to do for adult cats. It’s not their fault that they are out there and shouldn’t be sentenced to certain death by trapping them and sending them to the county animal shelter. It’s actually the right thing to do for the kittens if you can not otherwise take them in and socialize them.

What I’ve learned is that it’s a time commitment to TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return). I’m thankful that as a teacher I had a little bit of time. I’ve learned that there are traps out there that are better than the ones you find at the hardware store that are more humane for the cats, and that there are all sorts of different traps that can be used for different situations.

So after speaking with our local TNR leader, she came over to the house to drop off the traps. She had made appointments for three cats that Thursday, which gave me 3 days for the cats to get used to the trap before I used it on the last night.

Setting everything up wasn’t too hard, and they used them pretty much right away. Luckily they were all used to coming up to the porch and eating anyhow and didn’t seem too concerned about going in the trap.

Trap-Neuter-and-Return part 1

When I saw a little cat hanging around the house last month something prompted me to go and get a bag of food and welcome it to my porch. Although I am very much a “dog” person, the idea of having a cat come by to share a morning cup of coffee seemed somehow calming and ideal. I was about two weeks into feeding her in the morning and evening, getting her to eat from my hand and stay a little bit, when one morning something unexpected happened.

Yes, two of the tiniest cutest little faces on the planet came around the corner with her. I immediately knew that I was in for a challenge. They couldn’t come in and be inside kitties because three dogs, a bird, and two feral kittens would be too much for me. I couldn’t bear take them to a county shelter to face their death due to overcrowding. I definitely couldn’t become the block cat lady where these cats would breed and create 50 cats before I knew it.


Mini trampolines and rebounding

Last December my husband and I were in Chicago for a conference. This happens to be the place that the Bellicon company has a showroom for their exercise trampolines. Of course I insisted on visiting or a test bounce.
Naturally I ordered one. I got the mid-sized one which fits nicely in our living room. I do love it. If you want to feel like a kid again, bounce on one for a little bit. You can’t help but smile a little.
It is definitely a good workout if you use is correctly and consistently. That is my newest thing to add to my Summer schedule. If I’m going to get my life on track I’ll need to shed more than 10 years of kitsch and clutter.

This is not an epic day, but a good day

Joe and I headed out this morning to our local farmer’s market. It has been great to see the market expand from a few booths when we first moved to pensacola to the size that it is now. I picked up a jar of local gallberry honey as the one we had bought in December is finally almost gone. The crowd was pretty big today, so we didn’t stay that long.

I also whittled down some more of our clutter that is hanging around. I’m down to consolidating and making choices about giving away things that I actually still like. I am striving for only having those things that are essential to my happiness. Letting some things go will be an important step into doing that. So on the chopping block this week might be our record player and records, an xbox, and some neat decorative items that either don’t fit our decor anymore, or I just can’t find the right spot for.

I had other great plans for today, but mostly that was what was actually done.


More Clutter Milestones

Today I went through and cleaned out my closet again. This time I went through and eliminated even more. I started off by separating out all of my dresses, work shirts, and suits. I kept 5 dresses, 5 suits, and 5 pairs of dress pants. I kept 7 dress shirts. I whittled down my shoes a little more as well.
It was hardest to donate things that I liked but either had too many of (like 4 awesome black tops), or that I can’t wear at the moment (like a couple of my dresses from a decade ago).
I ended up keeping some of my Lily Pulitzer dresses. I just like the pattern so much that I couldn’t part with them…. yet.
Next I headed to my music/living room for another round of clean up. I had three art sets that I combined for when I get in the creative mood, that saved some space. Then I moved the screen that was separating my office area with the rest of the room and put it in the corner. I was able to stack a bunch of my ugly crates behind it, and the room looks huge again!
I took the curtain that was on the old shelf (oh yeah, I took everything off that and found it homes, either on our other bookshelf or the donation bin) and put it under the glass top I used to make my desk. I think it looks rather pretty.
After dropping another carload of stuff off, and a quick lunch I tackled going through the things that were under the bed. Not much really. Strangely, we had a clear tub filled with hangers. Another tub was my purses and bags (I ended up putting that in the closet so I remembered I have them), and a third tub contained some mementos, including a Barbie set which I guess is worth over $100 now. Pretty nice because the price tag on it says $15.00.
Up next will be some hard decisions. Knick Knacks need to be sorted through and decided upon if they stay or go.
After that I suppose it really is time to deep clean the house, and to finish painting some of the areas we didn’t get to yet.

Making things in jars!

There are many reasons why people start to make their own home products. For some the appeal might be saving money, or to save the planet. Some people may want to win the uber crunchy award.

Me? I’ve found meaning in those mason jars that are now spread about in my house. The detergent in the laundry room was soap in it that I grated outside on my front porch. It’s not about convenience, it’s about the opposite of convenience. It’s about having to work a little for the little things because we appreciate the things that we work for, even if it’s not that much work. I do appreciate my clean laundry more now that I’ve contributed a little more to getting it clean than dropping a pre-measured pod into the washer.


My fridge is filled with purple mason jars filled with salads and fruit infused waters. The salads are SO good! I am sure that I’ll be making these and taking them to work when I get back to school in the Fall. You simply layer your dressing at the bottom, then harder veggies (or fruits), followed by layers that make sense to keep everything fresh. There are so many things that can be done with these, and I haven’t had a salad disappoint yet.

With the infused water, I’m adding in essential oils with the fruit. I bought a topper for the jar that has a fruit infuser in it which works great. I also have a set of toppers to turn the lids of my clear jars into drinking jars. I made some infused fruit water with that too, but I prefer the water with the infuser built in. In any event, I add some essential oil along with the fruit and away I go for the day. Mostly right now I’m adding in a drop or two of geranium (geranium oil is VERY strong smelling) and 5-6 drops of Doterra’s slim and sassy oil. I can’t say that it’s making me slim or sassy, but it does seem to give me energy throughout the day.

In the past week or so I’ve also made jars of:

  • coconut/ castille soap face wash
  • a witch hazel/lavendar and geranium oil toner
  • nopoo shampoo
  • bug itch spray
  • natural cleaners

More pictures coming soon!