I know this is off-topic, but our lilac trees are blooming and I couldn’t resist some photos. (And it was a good excuse to break out my Zeiss lens which I use less often. Such pretty bokeh!) Our trees have not always produced a full crop of lilacs but they are bursting with them this year. Wish I could package the smell and post it here too…glorious.



Lilacs mean spring is really here, at least in the Northeast.So do the flowering trees.

And so do these little darlings, all over the lawns.

Can’t forget the dandelions. Happy spring!


Derry Township Community Cats Updates

I know I shouldn’t say this, and it is too early to say with any confidence…and I’m sure the phone will start ringing just to prove me wrong…but our Derry Township Community cat phone line has been incredibly quiet so far this year. Usually by this time we have lots of requests to trap/spay/neuter/vaccinate cats, but this year you could grow moss on the phone. (And yes, the phone is in fine working order.)

It may be that after “fixing” 930 cats in the last four years we are reaching a maintenance level…one can hope anyway. While walking a dog the other evening one of our faithful Derry Policemen was sitting in his car doing paperwork, and we had a chat about the program in passing. He said in the past when the police patrolled the Township cats were everywhere, and now he hardly ever sees them anymore. (Before our program started the police department had to go capture and try to deal with all the cat requests, so they pretty much love us for taking this task off their hands.)


As I said…just in case the universe if wanting to punish me for hubris…it is too early to call right now. But if we’re still this quiet by the end of the summer, I’m going to do a little happy dance.

Some updates for those of you who may be wondering how some of the cats we have trapped are doing. Sam, the cat I reported on most recently, had been sick for quite a few months before we got him. I think I mentioned that he was FIV+.


That’s not a big deal many times, and we’ve been able to find homes for FIV+ cats when they are friendly and not too far along. Sam, however, was unpredictable, and swatted hard with claws out when he wanted something. He managed to nail all who were caring for him, including his vet. He was probably used to fighting for what he needed after living outside. He was also very sick, and probably has an immune system that’s beaten up. Even on good antibiotics he doesn’t really get well.

So Sam is now living in a hospice situation for cats with FIV+ and FELV+. He doesn’t have to be caged there, and he has indoor space galore, with as much food as he wants. And a screened large catio if he wants to be outside. He has good days and bad ones, but at least he doesn’t have to fight for resources, and he is warm and cared for. He will live out his days, whatever they are, in a comfortable and safe place.

You might be wondering about Beck as well, the sweetheart of a Persian trapped awhile ago.


After his neuter surgery, and a complete shave of his severely matted fur, he is still with us being cared for.


His favorite thing is to give people bear hugs…total lovebug, this guy.  His coat is starting to come back, more in some places than others, but it will get there eventually. He is not completely well yet. His bad eye is still causing some difficulties and we’re trying to sort those out for him.  That doesn’t stop him from begging pets, pretty much 24/7, and I suspect his fosters, who are in love with him,  are going to be foster failures.

And that’s what’s cooking for us right now. We have a clinic date in 2 weeks but only 2 cats on the list for now. Not that I’m complaining! I just hope all the cats aren’t hiding somewhere with a plan to all appear at the same time. And we are starting to hear about newborns litters, so we’re not counting any successes yet. Stay tuned.

The Remains of the Day

Pardon my completely off-topic (not animal related) post, but these logs have called to me many times while out walking Bodhi. There used to be a bunch of trees in this field and they were all recently chopped down. I don’t know if there was a tree-illness going around or what, but this is all that remains of the trees.






Last week fifteen wonderful volunteers gathered and gave the Derry Township Community Cats cat house (yes, we call it the cat house) a spring cleaning. Just in time for our newest short-term resident to check in. Meet Sam.

Sam was being fed by a kindly caretaker who noticed he wasn’t very well, and she did a wonderful job of trapping him. DTCC doesn’t generally care for sick cats (though I wish we had the finances to do so!) but when cats come in as part of a TNR trapping week and they’re ill, they hit the jackpot. This poor guy came in last night, and we settled him in the sparkling clean cat house overnight, and then got him to our amazing vet this morning.

I wasn’t the least bit surprised to find out that he is FIV+. You can hear him breathing from the other side of the room, and when the vet looked in his mouth today it was full of lesions, even on his tongue. No wonder the poor guy can’t eat kibble. He hasn’t groomed himself in a very long time (due to the lesions, no doubt) so he stinks and is matted all over. Ear mites galore, and who knows what internal parasites. And the guy is intact, which probably means he was out fighting and got the FIV that way.

Luckily, he’s a sweet guy, as you can sort of tell from his photo taken at the vet’s office. He’s Mr. Mellow, and didn’t even mind being trapped…just kept eating the canned food at the back of the trap (our super duper trapping food – shrimp and fish…who is going to turn down that meal?) He’s very happy to eat canned food, and even ate a whole can at the vet’s office. (What cat does that??)

So, first things first for the guy. We can’t deal with any kind of surgery (neutering and cleaning him up) until his congestion is a good bit better, so he’s on an antibiotic for a couple weeks to see if we can help with that and the lesions. Some Revolution to deal with some internal parasites and ear mites, plus some ear mite medicine to help him be more comfortable. And all the food he wants to eat.

He’s got our king-sized dog crate for now, right next to the window so he can watch what’s going on outside. Lots of fleece to sleep in, and room service for litter, food, and water twice daily. And a nice warm and sparkly clean cat house to hang out in. And that’s a whole lot better than living outside for this guy. He won’t be going back out. I’m not sure where he will land yet, and that may depend on how well he responds to treatment. But one way or another his outdoor days are done. Welcome to the cat house, Sam. Enjoy your stay.