Monday, April 30, 2012

Strike is off to the Vet

There was no need to trap Strike this morning, because she is as tame as tame can be, so I just gently nudged her into the carrier and put her in the back of my car. 

Nik came by a short time later and picked her up.  She is off to Nicosia to be spayed today, all things considered. I have spent more and more time with her recently, often making a second trip up to the park to give her some high quality food to try and put some weight on her, and to bolster her immunity.

I had the most lovely afternoon at the park with her recently, when she filled herself on a sachet of kitten food, some mackerel (she loves the juice!), and a little gourmet.  I sensed she wanted company, so I stayed, and she curled up behind me like a spoon, hugging herself to my back while I looked out to sea.  I could not see her, just her outstretched paws reaching around to the front of my jacket, toes spread in relaxation and delight, and I could hear her soft purring.  How hard was it to leave her there?  Very.  I was pretty inspired by the memory so I drew a picture:

Strike and Me by the Sea

Here's a mini-vid from our morning:


Strike has been spayed and will be on her way back to our village soon with Nik.  Our vets George and Christina said she had very bad earmites, ringworm, intestinal parasites and bite marks on her neck from an overly aggressive male.

We will release her at the park tonight.  I really wish we could find a home for her.  I wish we could bring her here, but between Cindy and Bette, Theo and Minnow, Starlight and her four 2 week old kittens, and the other ten cats we have here inside alone, it is chaos, because they don't all get along, and at this point not really a good situation for any of them.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Field of Dreams

Field of dreams - perfect for the cat sanctuary we dream of

Nik and I have been looking for months for the perfect field in the area to try and purchase for a home/cat sanctuary where we could relocate the village street cats after we alter them.  It needs to be a large field.

We have looked at over twenty fields.  Yesterday we looked at several, and the last one we saw was perfect.  It's close to all our feeding stations, it's off the seafront road, it's fenced, it has water and electricity, it has plenty of olive trees to climb, and it has a small dwelling and some outbuildings.  It even comes with its own cats, (twenty-five according to the owner!):

The cats come with the field - Wait, WHAT?

And it is in a nice enough spot where it has the potential to attract artists should we be in a postition to push forward with the goal of also making it an artist retreat.

A view from inside toward the road - it is is double gated

Turning counter clockwise, I give you a somewhat panoramic view:

My understanding is it comes with chickens, too. 

It's funny because Nik and I walk our dog Muji by this property nearly every day, and have been for about 4 years.  There used to be a pig here a couple of years ago, up near the road, and he had his own pen.  We were pretty certain they were fattening him for that upcoming Easter, which tugged at our hearts.  That plus he was alone all the time.  Every time it rained, though, our thoughts ran to this pig alone in his concrete dwelling.  So we started taking him leftovers.  I baked some cookies once that didn't turn out the way I wanted, so we took him those.  It got be a regular thing. 

Anyway, the field has gone up for sale.   Priced at 70,000 Euro per skala, for 4 skala it comes to 280,000 Euro.  I know.  It is hard to know what he really thinks he will get for it though, because as mentioned before, people rarely price land in Cyprus at its market value, but instead way over-inflate the asking price. What we are looking for is something from 10, 000-45,000 per skala.

What the native landowners can't seem to get through their heads here is it doesn't matter what the land is valued at, by themselves or the bank.  If you can't get that price for the land, then it is not worth that.  Simple.  Common sense. That's why the land here sits for sale for years.  The economy is going to have to to get even worse here before they accept for their properties what they are actually worth. A farmer we spoke to today told us none of them have any money and the banks are asking them to pay up on their loans.  Why?  Because the banks don't have any money either.  But the majority of them still sit in their delusions.

What do you think?  Could it be our field of dreams?

What do they think?

We think so.

View of olive trees from road - good climbing for Greyboy

Nice breeze off the sea

and cats to be altered

Now we just have to figure out how to make it happen.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A New Perch

Yesterday we had a very eventful morning at the park.  Today we did, too.  But let's just start with yesterday because I am still recovering from that.

Somewhere between Nik stopping by with a trapped cat, which turned out to be a huge mistake, and I will get to that in another post, and what I thought might have been a fallen coconut that just missed my head, Moonpie decided to make a long overdue appearance at the park.
Remember Moonpie?

I was on my way out, up by the parking lot, stopping to give Strike a special meal because I am trying to beef her up:

Beefing up Strike with some kitten food

It was then as I was bent over under the tree that I heard a relatively loud thud as far as things falling from trees go.  I mean it didn't sound like a leaf, or a stick.  It sounded more like a large fruit, like a guava or a coconut, but I am pretty sure we do not have coconut trees here, and I am not sure about guavas, but I know at least we have neither at the park.  But I decided to finish what I was doing which was to help Strike eat, and then I would turn around to figure out what it was.  When I finally looked over, just below my feet lay a baby bird who wasn't even considering trying to fly yet.  What unfortunate luck for that baby bird that he fell right next to the cat's dish.  So I grabbed him and hustled over to a whole in the brush where I placed him, lest he become dessert. 

The tree the bird fell from

 The hole in the brush where I put the baby bird

It was just as I got back to Strike and her dish that I heard cat screams, loud ongoing desperate cat screams.  I got up and ran toward them to find Moonpie had Blabby trapped in the hedge and was terrorizing him.  I gave Moonpie a very hard stare and he turned and left.  Blabby remained in the hedge long enough for me to go get my camera and come back to get a picture of him:

Blabby staying undercover

I then went looking for Moonpie but I couldn't find him.  So I went again looking for Blabby and found he had left the hedges.  I went searching and I don't know what caused my eyes to look up but if they hadn't I would have missed him:

Blabby was atop the gazebo

Clever boy - this is when it pays to be the little guy

"What a clever boy," I thought.  "Good boy," I told him.

Today we had a lot of cats down at the table at the lower park, so I guess that is why Greyboy, Blabby, and Gunther never came down.  But as I was on my way up to the car I found this: 

Blabby and Greyboy atop the gazebo

I guess one bird lost his perch and two cats found theirs.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Following up with Gunther

Gunther, who we neutered last month, disappeared for a while from the park, and has just retuned this past week.  He is looking a little thin and I noticed he had a very nasty raw spot on his foot.

This morning I gave him some kitten food to try and build his strength up, which I will continue to do.  The sore area looked a little better this morning, but if it doesn't get much better we will have to trap him again and get him to the vet.

You can hear the exasperation in my voice in the following video.  It's because it makes us feel so helpless when the feral cats get ill or need medical attention because it's not like we can just pick them up and pop them in the car.  We either need to trap them again or find some other way, usually force, to get them in a carrier.  It's traumatic for them.  This is another good reason to develop a trusting relationship with the cats, so if they need help we can give it to them, or get it for them more easily.

More Black Cats!! Meet Lily of the Fields

Last night, after we released Mystery, we went to the fields, to our two feeding stations, to put out some food.  I am not sure how long exactly we have been leaving food out there, a few weeks?  But we have yet to come face to face with any of the cats we are feeding at those times.  Until last night, when we met her:

She's a pretty little black cat, obviously lactating, so it made us so happy to know she was finding our food and it was helping her.  She didn't run off when she saw us, and we happened to have a can of soft food in the car, so we gave some to her and she gladly ate it while allowing us to take pictures of her.

We've named her Lily and we were so  happy to see her.  Maybe now that she knows who we are, she will meet us there again soon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Trapping Mystery

It has been so long since we have trapped a cat, and it has not been because we have not been trying! It's getting more and more like trying to find a needle in a haystack, because we are aiming for very specific cats, the easier cats having already been trapped and altered.  I am beginning to wonder if we will ever catch Big Van.  We have heard from other people trapping cats for spay/neuter that there are some cats you can never catch.

Nik spent the better part of the last two Sundays trying to trap Tomcats Big Van, Butch and Sundance over at Sammy's and had no luck at all.  This past Sunday, Morris took a walk over to Sammy's and jumped in Nik's car with him and kept him company while Nik watched the trap.

Morris makes himself at home in our cars

He even helps with the groceries
So this morning we were tickled pink to have trapped Mystery.  I was feeding cats at the park while Nik was feeding and trying to trap at the apartments, and he swung by the park on his way to Nicosia with Mystery in the back of his car, and we both felt a sense of relief.

Mystery after trapping

We released Mystery tonight at the apartments very carefully, to make sure he wouldn't go running in the street.

Mystery just before his release

Lifting the plexiglass door

A successful release

So, job well done, Nik, and let's say a prayer that Mystery fares well, and lives a long, safe, good life.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Meet Sweet Tweets

We haven't met Tweets up close and personal yet so I thought you all might like to meet her.  I ran into her at Sammy's this morning.  You may remember Tweets gave birth recently in an empty lot down the road from Sammy's house.  Here's Tweets:

Tweets' mom was Bette Davis.  You can see from the video that Tweets resembles Bette Davis' kitten, Minnow, from a later litter:

Minnow, who is also Bette's Davis' kitten
You can read more about the Bette Davis family here.  And you will find Tweets on our adoption page here.  Please consider giving her a home.  Ask yourself, "Is this my cat?"


Checking in with Starlight and Her Kittens

I thought you might like to see how Starlight is doing and how her kittens are growing.  Here's Starlight:
Starlight having a big meal

And here are her kittens:
Starlight's litttle stars, 1 1/2 weeks old now

Bugsy, Romper and Strike Blackchin - Littermates

It's taken us a while to put this family together, mostly because they haven't all shown their faces consistently, but it is pretty clear to us now they are littermates.  We should call them The Blackchins...

Strike Blackchin:

Bugsy Blackchin:

and Romper Blackchin:

Bugsy disappeared right after we neutered him.  He shot off across the street in what was a painful lesson for me and Nik on the proper way to release cats we have developed no relationship with.  We didn't know Bugsy at all when we trapped him.

And then suddenly he showed up again last week, and was totally engaging and saucy, like he had known me all his life.  Since then, he has not left my side at the park.  He's a bit impertinent and Petey has been teaching him a thing or two. 

Even Petey is alarmed at young Bugsy's boldness

 Petey makes Bugsy apologize

Romper is the smallest of the three littermates and only wants to play.  This cat is so cute you want to go crazy.  He/She got everyone playing in the sandbox the other morning and everyone forgot their differences. 

Playing in the sandbox: front to back, Romper, Greyboy, and Bugsy
Climbing trees - Greyboy and Blabby

 They forgot their differences and circled a hedgehog

Here is a little video of Bugsy, my new somewhat rude and vocal assistant, feeling full of zest this morning after his meal.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Strike's Condition

I mentioned here that Strike's health has deteriorated since she gave birth.  Here are some pictures where you can compare her condition.
Strike before she gave birth
Strike now
And she has been showing up to eat very irregularly, so I am concerned about her. I haven't seen her kittens and I don't know if they survived.  It would be surprising if they did because she doesn't seem to have any milk and she is very thin.  But I am not a veterinarian, and I don't know. 

She is a very sweet and meek cat, completely friendly and tame, petite and not yet a year old.  We have her on our adoption page.  She could use love and shelter, even if it is a temporary foster home.

You can meet Strike in a video here and see how she was meeting me at my car this past winter here.

If you can help Strike or would like to assist in getting her off the streets until we can find her a home please see our contact page.