Category: life

So glad the little kitty is safe and warm….

I debated posting about this for several days, because I don’t want to “do my good works before men” or be narcissistic: Oh, look how awesome I am!  I decided to go ahead because this has been on my heart since Sunday, and I want to remember and write about the little stray kitty.  And make a plea to others.

For a couple of weeks, a kitty hung around our little neighborhood, especially our condo.  My husband and I couldn’t get near it because it kept running off, so we couldn’t tell if it belonged to a neighbor.

At first we thought somebody had unwisely let their cat out on a frigidly cold almost-winter night.  I hoped it would soon go back home, and not stay out in that weather overnight.  We had occasional sightings now and then, but it wouldn’t get near us.

On Sunday, it was still around, so we really began to worry.  My husband put out some food.  As soon as he went back inside, the cat gobbled it up.  So at least we knew it had a full belly.

But it has been extremely cold around here lately, and more cold weather was expected this week (we’re talking wind chills occasionally hitting 15 or more below zero).  This could not possibly be a well-cared-for cat with a home.  My husband also saw the collar wrapped around the body.

My husband noted the cat liked to stay around our dryer vent.  After dark, we put blankets and food in a large cat carrier, and stuck it by the vent.  It could sleep there, and stay warm–and, with any luck/Providence, we could capture it in there.

Just a short time afterward, my husband went out and there was the cat, in the carrier.  He locked it in, and we brought it inside.  The poor thing kept meowing and meowing until the Humane Society girl showed up.

We would have kept it, but we already have two cats.  There are ordinances and condo rules about too many cats–and our gray cat is very territorial.

It was just a kitten!  Such a sweet and cute little thing, with big dark eyes, very scared.  But I stayed with it until we could hand it over, since we couldn’t let it out of the carrier.

(We didn’t know if it had rabies, or what our cats would do to it.  With it in the carrier, they just sat on the stairs, wondering what the heck was going on.  They probably stayed there because carrier=vet trip.)

The Humane Society girl assured us that nowadays they only euthanize for aggression or medical issues.  She also noted the cat was very thin, and when she removed the collar, the skin underneath was covered with sores.

That night was cold again.  All week has been cold.  And I’ve thought about that kitty every day, how it could have died from starvation and exposure, but instead it’s safe, getting treatment and care.  And soon, that sweet, cute little thing should be adopted out, since it’s a kitten and she said they’ve adopted out a lot of cats lately.

God even hears the plaintive prayers of a lost kitten.

PLEASE: Be careful what kind of collar you put on a cat.  Breakaway collars would prevent injury.  Keep your cat inside in this kind of weather.  Don’t be afraid to give a stray cat to a shelter.

Use microchips, since this cat had no tag on her collar.  And if you know anybody in Fond du Lac who’s missing an orange and white cat, it’s at the Humane Society.

UPDATE: See this post for picture.

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My son’s pet finches: love at first sight

Several months ago, after months of saving up (to prove he truly wanted them and it was not a passing fancy), my son got a pair of spice finches:



The cats watching closely as we adjusted the height of the cage until they could no longer reach it:


(They now have a bigger cage.  I’d like to get some close-ups, except that my stupid non-smartphone (an AT&T Z431 Gophone with smartphone-like features, but limited application) has stopped uploading pictures to Facebook for some unknown reason, and we don’t know where our camera has gotten to.)

When I first saw these two in the pet store, they were sitting on a perch, cuddled together.  We’re not sure if they’re mates, or two girls, or two boys.  But they do love each other and needed to be kept together–and, well, finches need to be in pairs, anyway, so they don’t waste away from loneliness.

Aside from the occasional argument over cleaning the cage today or tomorrow, my son has been pretty good about taking care of them.  It also helps that every day I write his chores down on a slate (old-fashioned slate with slate pencil, as used in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s time), and include bird chores.

Hubby doesn’t quite “get” wanting birds as pets.  But I do, because I had a canary as a child.

I don’t remember whose idea it was, just that one day my aunt took me to an Amish farm in Michigan, where we got the canary.  She said they were called “bad Amish,” because they had a truck parked out front.

But I saw the inside of the farmhouse: Except for no TV, radio or electricity, it looked like any other house.  The living room had a bunch of board games.  I forget if there was a phone or not.

(30 years does that to a memory.  It’s a shame I had to suspend writing about my childhood–an undertaking just like my college memoirs–when I got so morning sick I couldn’t even stand the smell of the computer.  Then I had a baby, and writing my memoirs got pushed aside….)

Anyway, I named the bird “Ralph-Elvis.”  The “Elvis” was for my mom, an Elvis fan.  The “Ralph” was for the main character on Greatest American Hero, an 80s show about an unlikely superhero, which I loved.  It also spawned a great theme song and #1 radio hit (the link also has scenes from the show).

And now, these two spice finches–named Sugar and Spice–bring their chatters, warbles and songs into our daily life.  Finches don’t sing like other birds: It’s more of a chattering, buzzing and squeaking.  But it is pretty just the same:

Song of the spice finch (Sugar and Spice love videos like this):

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Nature as Balm for the Soul







I took these pictures with my cellphone on a little biking path not far from my house.  (Not bad for a cheapo $30 pay-as-you-go phone.)  One of our local college campuses has this wildlife preserve, just on the other side of a busy main artery street.

Getting a bike last year, and finally having the skill and weather to explore with it this summer, has wonderful healing powers.  I had no idea there were biking trails near my house, and with such beauty.

It’s one of the many perks of living on the edge of town: all the benefits of city life, with essential services in walking distance, but also close to the countryside.  Meaning we occasionally see snowy owls, deer, cranes, and lots of rabbits.


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