Monday, July 28, 2008

Here We Go Again!

On our evening stroll, Frank and I encountered a family of cats on W&L's campus: two young (but not baby) kittens and a mama cat. I would guess that the kittens are around that magic 2-month age that they need human interaction. I'm searching for local programs to help these kitties. My guess is that the local humane shelter is pretty overrun with cats right about now.

In my search, I found out that in 1987, 15 million animals were put to sleep. Now, it's down to 5 million. Yes, I know that is still way too many, but it seems like we're on the right track.

Here are some organizations I learned about that are worthy of donations:

Follow Up on 'Bumpershoot'

According to Webster, it's actually 'Bumbershoot' and it's from the year 1896. Bumber is a fun form of umber in umbrella, and shoot is a variation from parachute.

So, not so PA Dutch.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Of International Interest, Somewhat

From Jessie in Germany:

This morning at work, Jesse Gibson came in and posed a question to the room (there were a couple of English speakers there from all over the place): Who knows what a bumbershoot is? (He said bumbershoot, as opposed to bumpershoot).

I said, "It's an umbrella." And that was right. I thought that bumpershoot was one of those things that Dad just made up (he does that sometimes, you know).

Jesse explained that he had been watching CNN World and the weather girl (not to be confused with The Weathergirls) asked if anyone knew what a "bumbershoot" was. Someone emailed in and said it comes from Pennsylvania Dutch and means "umbrella". The fact that I knew the word (and no one else had any idea) seemed to prove it.

I did not think Dad had made up that word. I thought it was what the British called umbrellas. I was way off.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

2 out of 3

I trapped the mother cat (Joy) tonight. Stripey won't go near the trap. He's so smart. He'd be smarter if he let me trap him, though.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

1 out of 3 Ain't Bad

I trapped Earl. He's in my car, with the windows down a bit. I will take him to a Forgotten Cats woman's house tomorrow morning. Tomorrow night, I will try to trap Joy and Stripey (again). I'm exhausted.

Earl successfully ate the food from the trap once without getting caught. I had to put more food in the trap and position it a little differently. After he was caught, I wasn't fast enough covering him up. (They calm down with the cover over them. Strange.) He was really thrashing around. The sound of the trap and Earl's panic made the other two cats panic. (It is really kind of scary. If I didn't know it was for the best, I would have just let him out.) Joy and Stripey wouldn't even go for the bait after that. Sigh.

I put the other 3 empty traps in my car too. I worry that my car might be bait.

Here are some new pictures of the cats.

What Did I Get Myself Into?

As you know, I've been taking care of some feral cats. Because of the holiday and my recent trip to NSF, I haven't been feeding the cats as regularly. I fed all 3 last night, and they were quite happy about that.

Anyway, I contacted Forgotten Cats and they just got in touch with me about the cats. The current plan is for them to give me 3 traps, I'll trap the cats and then take the cats to their clinic (about 30 minutes away) to be spayed/neutered. I have to be fast when a cat is trapped. I need to cover the trap and put it into my car so that they other cats don't realize what is going on. I have to do that 3 times (once for each cat). The woman in charge is trying to find a place for the cats, but she may have to return them back to the dumpster area because it's difficult to find homes for the feral cats. Sigh.

The woman was wondering if there was someone else who could feed the cats after I leave. Last night, a 7-year-old girl saw me feeding the cats and she seemed intrigued. A kid might be a good one to take over for me.

I couldn't find the location of the clinic on their web site. The woman told me that they can't do that because people drop cats off there all the time. They can't even put their name on the door. The people dropping off the cats are well-intentioned, I'm sure, but that must be difficult on Forgotten Cats.

The woman was really assuring that I'm doing the right things. She said that the cats will be a lot harder to trap after I leave because the cats trust me. I still think anyone who brings food would become the cat's friend. She also said that I can feed the cats as much as they'll eat. I was worried that they might be overeating because they eat so much, but she said not to worry about that. It's really difficult for the cats to get enough calories in the wild and they tend not to overeat.

One of the funniest things that the cats do is to look at me through plants and think that I can't see them. I'm looking right at them! I saw the mother cat across the street from the dumpster. I talked to her, shook the food bag, and reminded her who I was. I thought she might follow me, but she didn't. However, after I got to the pavilion where I feed them, she showed up pretty quickly after that.

Frank asked if I'm up for this. Um, no, not really. I'm leaving Delaware Friday night, and I have a bajillion things scheduled for this week. I am hoping one of the students I'm working with this summer may be able to help.

The things I do to save the world (like recycling the tons of empty liquor bottles in the apartment I'm subletting).