Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Christ is Born, Glorify Him! - The "Ultimate Poverty" of Love

Whatever Holy Day you celebrate at this time of year, I wish you peace and joy.  Thank you for your love for and kindness to the animals.

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Here is an amazing story I saw in the news today.  Please don't miss it. It fits right in with the mystery we experience on these wonderful Holy Days as we contemplate the wisdom of God, what His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew calls, "the “ultimate poverty” of God, which always acts as love and which surprised the wise men and the entire world."

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nativity icon from Cappodocia

Joy to the world for this wonderful surprise, this mystery that always catches us off guard and sets our hearts right.

Monkey Gives First Aid to Electrocuted Friend

VIDEO - Astounding!


by St. Ephraim the Syrian

“Pure is the present night, in which the Pure One appeared, Who came to purify us! Let our hearing be pure, and the sight of our eyes chaste, and the feeling of the heart holy, and th...e speech of the mouth sincere!

The present night is the night of reconciliation; therefore, let no one be wroth against his brother and offend him!

This night gave peace to the whole world, and so, let no one threaten. This is the night of the Most Meek One; let no one be cruel!

This is the night of the Humble One; let no one be proud!

Now is the day of joy; let us not take revenge for offenses! Now is the day of good will; let us not be harsh. On this day of tranquility, let us not become agitated by anger!

Today God came unto sinners; let not the righteous exalt himself over sinners!

Today the Most Rich One became poor for our sake; let the rich man invite the poor to his table!

Today we received a gift which we did not ask for; let us bestow alms to those who cry out to us and beg!

The present day has opened the door of heaven to our prayers; let us also open our door to those who ask of us forgiveness!

Today the Godhead placed upon Himself the seal of humanity, and humanity has been adorned with the seal of the Godhead!”

the “ultimate poverty” of God, which always acts as love and which surprised the wise men and the entire world. Peaches ad Dolly photo IMG_0470_zps11cf9920.jpg
"the “ultimate poverty” of God, which always acts as love and which surprised the wise men and the entire world."

May we all dig for it and find it, this wonderful treasure, this gift, this "ultimate poverty", the humility of love, for which we will be one day be crowned, in every place and in every circumstance we are in.  Especially the most trying ones.

"Let earth receive her king."

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Heart of a Servant

He thinks I’ll be all right
With doctoring. But it’s not medicine—
Lowe is the only doctor’s dared to say so—
It’s rest I want—there, I have said it out—
From cooking meals for hungry hired men       
And washing dishes after them—from doing
Things over and over that just won’t stay done.
(from A Servant to Servants, by Robert Frost)


I am really rethinking Facebook.  That's where I spend most of my time talking about the cats these days.  It's weird, so different than this blog, which was a lot of work when I kept it up regularly, but I enjoyed it.  It was rewarding.  On the other hand, I have met many nice people on FB and people who have helped the cats and me and I would miss them. 

The thing is, I feel like I can't tell the truth on FB, because every time I do, if people are involved, people always think what I write is about them, even when it is not.  I don't know why that is.  Maybe because people go there searching for a reflection of themselves.  But I am really not prepared not to tell the truth about what the experience of trying to help and look after these cats and other animals is like.  It's not all jingle bell collars, it's a little of that, and that's nice.  I like that, too.  And it is not all cats that are about to...


or cars aiming at and running over stray dogs, because let's face it, I have lived here for about 9 years now and last weekend is the first time I have witnessed it, even though I hear about it all the time. I have witnessed more poisonings and shootings, and even then, thankfully that's not even 50% of what I see.

Mostly it's in the middle.  Hungry cats.   Sick cats.  Lots of sick cats. Sick cats that pull through, and sick cats I stay up with while they die, when I can stay awake that is. Skinny cats with one good eye eating olives and bread that the locals throw out for them,  Cats hit by cars I pull out of the road and bury when I can.  Cats with diarrhea.  Dumped kittens. Litter boxes, food orders, dirty empty bowls, endless dishwashing, laundry, laundry, laundry I never get through, cleaning floors, vet visits, failed trappings, cat fights, jumping out the window in the middle of the night to break up cat fights, trouble making ends meet, trouble with people that don't like cats, feral cats that disappear after I alter them, and missing cats in general.  It's not what people want to hear about on Facebook.  They either want the jingle or the gore, and, well, that's just not what most of it is, and all that middle stuff doesn't seem to fit in there, where everyone is putting either their best face forward or their goriest, most upsetting one. 

I do want to write about what it is really like, for the benefit and consolation of cat rescuers if nothing else, but also because I like to write, it helps me understand things, it's like a puzzle coming together.  And, see, if I wrote this on FB, someone would take offense, because they would think I am talking about them, and I am not thinking of anyone in particular.

Maybe I will just put the cute pictures and the horrible things that happen there and save the rest for this blog. 

Although I have to say, it's a pretty sad state when sickness and death from sickness become part of the middle thing, but they have in this world. The dog that was killed in the crusher at a hotel is gone, and yet people are still talking about him and donating like crazy to get justice.  The skinny one eyed cat is still eating olives on the street corner and rescue kittens need their vaccinations and people scroll right past.

Could it be that people would rather punish human beings than save animals?

And maybe FB is no place for the truth.

How about you?  Don't you find that the hardest stuff to get through is all that stuff in the middle that never stops?  Even if it is not cats you are taking care of?

By good rights I ought not to have so much
Put on me, but there seems no other way.
Len says one steady pull more ought to do it.       
He says the best way out is always through.
And I agree to that, or in so far
As that I can see no way out but through—
Leastways for me—and then they’ll be convinced.
(from A Servant to Servants, by Robert Frost)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Best News A Girl Like Me Could Get

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My sweet Alethia, I never knew how she was killed, or the other two cats that disappeared that day, only that my neighbour was working in his field

I got the best news a girl could get today.  My friend Vanessa tagged me in a post on Facebook.  This is what it said:

Church of Cyprus And Animal Cruelty  On July 27, 2014, CVA President Mary Anastasi, Secretary Stella Stylianou and spokesman Mr. Dinos Agiomammitis, visited Bishop Isaiah at the Bishopric of Tamasou and Pera Orinis.  Accompanying us was Mrs. Christina Nellist who arranged the meeting and who has been striving for animal protection for many years. Fearing the possible reluctance of the Church to tackle matters concerning animal welfare, a subject that is not popular and many times unpleasant, we were doubtful that this visit would prove otherwise.  It was indeed a great and wonderful surprise to hear Bishop Isaiah’s affirmation that animals are part of God’s creation and that any cruelty or abuse to animals is a sin. We particularly welcomed the news that the status of an animal's souls has nothing to do with the way they should be treated which is will love and compassion.  We left the meeting with the best impressions and hopes that the Church will finally embrace animals.  We were asked to write a letter to the Holy Synod, explaining the current animal welfare problems and asked the Church to address the people on the subject of animal cruelty.  On September 24, 2014 we received a letter from the Holy Synod, dated September 15, 2014, pledging that the Church of Cyprus will remind its Christian followers, of the proper way of treating animals!  This news is indeed an historic and positive step and one we have all been striving to achieve.  We believe that the involvement and guidance of the Church in matters of animal welfare and protection will, if the followers of Christ truly listen, bring desired changes in attitudes and to an end to unorthodox practices.  We await with excitement to hear the so-long awaited announcement.  We would like to thank Bishop Isaiah for his most warm welcome and of course his positive traditional views regarding animals and their welfare, as well as his willingness to present this subject to the Holy Synod. Of course we wholeheartedly thank Christina Nellist, theologian and presbytera, for her involvement in bringing clarity on the Church's teachings on this important subject.  CYPRUS VOICE FOR ANIMALS

I feel so reassured by this.  Not that I think change will come overnight.  But change will come.  The Church has long needed to attend to the situation in Cyprus.  Animal welfare has not been what it should be in an Orthodox country. I have always felt like the ancient Chruch should be leading the way in good stewardship over all of creation. It's a gift, after all, and we were left in charge, to till it and to keep it.  To keep it.  Let's remember that. 

There are many more historically Orthodox countries where the Church clergy needs to speak out, to teach, to remind the laity.  They may need a reminder themselves.  That's OK.  As long as they are willing to learn. The Church is here to extend mercy as well, to all of us.  We all are fallen.  We all are disfigured.  But we were created good.  In God's image.  We have yet to receive His likeness, but perhaps we are on our way.

I can die happy now.  Secure in the knowledge that people will carry on.  They care.  They know what needs to be done, and, with courage, will prevail.  Knock and it shall be opened unto you.  Seek and you shall find.  Ask and you shall be given. 

Bravo to the Cyprus Voice for Animals for knocking, for seeking, and for asking.  That took courage, and we were all greatly rewarded for your courage. Thank you.

There are other historically Orthodox countries where the brave animal welfare seekers need to go in love and respectfully speak to the bishops. Romania, Russia, Greece, Serbia...go, knock, seek, ask, be brave. We need to lead the way.  Jesus Christ is the answer.  To everything.

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Friday, July 4, 2014

Updates - What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas

I have a lot of updating to do to this blog.  For instance, this feeding stations map, which right now is still over in the sidebar, is no longer accurate.  I have decided, for good reasons, not to draw a new one. 

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This feeding station map is no longer accurate.

Let's just say I've decided it's between the cats and me.

I love blogging (we used to call it writing), and I find it edifying, but it is time consuming. I am busier with the cats than I have ever been.  I reached my free picture host limit on Blogger's Picassa long before I reached my free cat host limit.  Since then I have been using an alternate photo host and storage to post pictures here.  That makes blogging take twice as long, needing two windows open.  The photo host locks up.  To insert a url no longer works and I have to insert them in HTML.  Then all heck breaks loose on the spacing of the post.  If you have ever used Blogger you understand.  I have considered moving over to Wordpress, and I started to.  Maybe in time I will make the switch. I suppose I could buy more storage here, but the idea of giving the big G any more information than they already have on me seems unwise, and I would rather spend the money on the cats, even if it is just a couple of bucks.

What can I say?  I'm cheap.  I'm cat cheap. 

I will get around to updating the blog soon, in particular the pages. 

But regarding updating the feeding stations map, I'll heed these words from a wise friend:


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"What happens at the feeding stations, stays at the feeding stations."

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The 20 Cats Sponsored by Cats in Need Cyprus

I was so happy when Cats in Need generously offered to sponsor the sterilization of 20 cats for me recently. Doing TNR and feeding cat colonies by yourself can not only be exhausting, it can be very expensive, so I was delighted and grateful when Cats in Need offered to help.  It was a big help.  And just in time, as several cats at my house were coming of age.

Cats in Need is a charity organization abroad that helps people like me doing TNR in Cyprus.  It is Cats in Need that donated my traps once upon a time, and they have helped me a lot since I began doing this in 2011. 

Please, if you would like to help Cats in Need help people like me in Cyprus, they welcome donations, and they are wonderful folks.  I get a lot of emotional support from them too, even a hug or two.  You can donate to Cats in Need here, a very worthy cause: Cats in Need

So!  Let's unveil the cats!

Here's a roundup of the 20 Altered Cats! sponsored by Cats in Need:

1. Starlight

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Starlight, mother extraordinaire, who also must have received Abraham's promise of many heirs

2. Sox

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Sox, who loves to do the scoop

(Speaking of which, here is a picture of Jayne from Cats in Need Cyprus visiting with the above two, Starlight and Sox, at my house before this transpired.  It wasn't planned, but they turned out to be the first two cats I altered!  I thought it was funny!  It must have been Jayne's tap!)

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Jayne petting Sox with Starlight behind

3. Crackers:

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Crackers in bed is a GREAT habit

4. Bouncie

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Bouncie, the toe nibbler, who prefers bouncing to walking

5. Rudolph

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Rudi likes to play in all the reindeer games

6. Bonnie

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Beautiful ingénue Bonnie needs a pink bedroom

7. Boogie

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Boogie, the precious water artist, working on her MFA

8. Vincent

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Shy, head tilting charmer, Vinnie Vinnie Voo!

9. Vanna

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Vanna, with her little black leather nose, granddaughter to Big Van from Sammy's, and his namesake

10. Olive

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Olive Oil, because she goes down so smooth and heals.  She likes to lick fingies and has a tiny goatee.

11. Dimples

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Dimples, one of the delectable Candies, who croaks like a frog

12. Innocence

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Innocence, better known as Innie, the adorable loudmouth

13. and 14. were sisters, Dusty and Zelda, from the park

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Dusty and Zelda, some serious dark sugar rush when they pile on to love you!

15. Bubbles

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Bubbles, but I call her Baba.  Small, sassy, and in charge!
16. Godfrey

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Photogenic Godfrey, found as a tiny kitten at the nearby dump, still thinks I'm a tree

17. Rainbow

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Rainbow, a friendly neighbourhood cat, taught Sox the scoop

18. Alethia

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My little Doris Day, Alethia, plays the acordian

19. Punky

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Punky da da, perpetually surprised, wonderful mother figure

20. Cocoa

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I'm cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, she walks like a ballet dancer with great turnout.

and one for good luck :)  I got a little extra discount at the vets so I was able to do one more:
21. Stuart Little

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Hi Stu! Tiny man with hooks for claws!  Likes to scare the dog!

Thank you again Sue and Jayne and Cats in Need !

Friday, April 25, 2014

Heartbreak - Losing Sunshine in The No Generation

I believe in some blending of hope and sunshine sweetening the worst lots. I believe that this life is not all; neither the beginning nor the end. I believe while I tremble; I trust while I weep.

- Charlotte Bronte

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I was asked to help this beautiful new-born kitten by a kind young man named Christopher who contacted me through Facebook.  He met a kind young lady named Victoria at the vet.  She found the kitten, an apparent orphan.  They both brought the kitten to me late Wednesday night.

I originally posted their photo on Facebook to ask for help, along with a plea.  Although there were a handful of shares, and close to 400 people saw the post, no one responded to help.  I agreed to take him.  I believe it would have been better if someone with more time and energy nursed him, for his sake.  But there was no one.

He came rather strong I thought.  He fought valiantly the first 18 hours, but then he seemed to weaken last night.  I fell asleep on the sofa.  I was exhausted.  I didn't wake to feed him again until this morning, and he was already fading away.  I blame myself.  I think if I had woken in the middle of the night he would have had a better chance. 

I feel sad when I ask for help and there is silence. I feel sad when I think of Jesus saying the harvest is great, but the workers are few.  He commanded us to therefore pray God sends more workers into the harvest.  I pray this. 

I have a name for this new silent generation.  I call them The No Generation. 

These two young people who brought me the new-born kitten were Good Samaritans, lovely young people who I pray will never change.  Yet, they put their trust in me and I failed them and I feel terrible. 

Sunshine passed away this morning despite all my protesting and prayers, despite all my efforts to keep him warm and to wake him from the sleep I saw him falling into, and despite all the animal rights and welfare activists hollering on Facebook.  He stopped taking the milk, his suckling grew weaker and weaker.  I am greatly saddened, I feel helpless, and yet I still have faith.  I said yes.  I still believe it would have been better for the kitten if someone else had said yes.  But there was no one willing. 

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Victoria, the lovely young woman who saved Sunshine, bought formula for him.  She bought a lovely carrier for him that when I look at I want to cry.  She brought him wrapped in the softest blankets. 

I do not know if Sunshine was a he or a she. 

Godspeed, Sunshine.  Your memory is eternal with me.

I pray God sends more workers into the harvest. 

I pray for a Yes Generation.

Victoria, Christopher, I am so sorry. 

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Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? ’When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? ’Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ - Matthew 25:35-40

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mission Accomplished! Finally!

I finally trapped Wanda.
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Wanda in the trap, finally

It took me forever.

Wanda was altered on Feb 27th. 

Mission accomplished. 

Thanks, Wanda.

Thanks to my friend, the other lady of the cats, for believing I could do it and sponsoring her alteration.

Godspeed, Wanda!

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Beautiful Wanda

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Friday, January 31, 2014

Creamy Arrives in His New Home

I am happy to report Creamy arrived in his new home in the USA.  He was safe and sound and I am very thankful to God for this. I am grateful for the good care that was taken of him at London Heathrow by the vet staff there. I am grateful to his new family for offering him love and a good home, a family who were not only committed to making it happen, but did a lot of work and research to that end.  I am thankful to all of my readers who shared their money and information and emotional support and held my hands through it all as I was very nervous.  Finally, I am thankful to Creamy and for the day he appeared in my life.  I marvel at the transpiration of events. Thank you all for your kind and wonderful hearts.  His new family has sent me many wonderful pictures of him enjoying his new home.  Enjoy.  There are also several more recent pictures on my Altered Cats! Cyprus Facebook page if you would like to see more of Creamy in his new home.

Altered Cats! Cyprus on Facebook

Thank you all again. 

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Creamy Goes to California

Well, I finally found a home for a cat.  In California.  Creamy is just adorable and I can totally see why his new mom fell in love with him.  I did, too.  Someone left Creamcicle , now known as "Creamy",  at the park a while back.  He was young, still a kitten, and terrified.  But he has turned into a lover and with his irresistible charm, and darling expression, he has found himself a home with a lovely lady and her family in sunny California.  I wonder if he will be the first Cyprus cat there?  I have started a fundraiser to raise money for his expenses.  I ask if you could donate and share my fundraiser.  I would really appreciate it. 

I also ask and would appreciate your prayers for a safe journey for him.  I will be sitting on pins and needles until I know he has arrived at his new forever home safely.  This is the first time I have sent a cat abroad and it is a long journey for him.  Thank you. 

Creamy, I pray for the absolute best for you.  I love you and I will miss you.  Thank you for the time we have had together.  Thank you for coming into my life. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

How Do They See Themselves?

Narcissus so himself forsook,
And died to kiss his shadow in the brook.
- William Shakespeare

There have been incidents in the Cyprus news lately that have animal lovers very upset.  One was a dog deliberately dragged to death while tied behind his owner's car on Christmas morning in Limassol.  Apparently his reasoning was that the dog was disobedient.  He had sent the dog to training school and when he got him back, he was still disobedient.  So I guess this somewhat less than human being figured he would show the dog.  He killed him.  He said in the event he was not successful killing the dog by dragging him, he had a hatchet in the back of the car to kill him with, just in case.  (Astoundingly, he had a Plan B.)  The police arrested him.  What will happen?  Not much.  This is Cyprus.  This is the Mediterranean.  This is the mentality. They tolerate it.  Is everyone here like this?  No.  Are there a lot here like this?  Yes.  So it is not just a few freaks?  No.  It is a freakish cultural attitude.  It is a distinctly Mediterranean cultural attitude.  You will find it in Greece, in Italy, in Spain, in Malta. I have artist friends there. I hear the same things about poisonings, cruelty, neglect, illegal hunting of birds.  I have tried to figure it out for a long time.  I have been here 8 years.  I think I finally have a clue that, felicitously, I happened upon.  I will go into more later, because I need to do some more research and think more about it. 

But suffice it to say at the root is a wrong, misguided belief about their place in the world they live in, that, unfortunately, has its roots in Hellenism.  Remember I am Greek American. I have a unique window into this world.  I can say what a lot of expats here can't, and not be accused of racism. 

On top of the Christmas incident of the poor dog being dragged to death in Limassol, there was a situation over Christmas where a Cyprus rescue group's dogs where being housed in a  Cypriot kennel, owned by a former municipal worker, where neglect and cruelty where discovered.  You can read about that tragedy here: 

You can read about the tragedy in Limassol here:

It was a just a few weeks ago that while I was walking my dog I found a live puppy tied up in a bag at the village dump.  It has been on-going that where I am living my cats have been vanishing into thin air.  My landlord believes my neighbour is killing them.  I have effectively been shut out of three of my feeding stations. 

How do they see themselves?  When they look in the mirror, what do they see?  It is something to think about. 

Narcissus does not fall in love with his reflection because it is beautiful, but because it is his. If it were his beauty that enthralled him, he would be set free in a few years by its fading.
- W.H. Auden