Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Have your pets spayed or neutered

There is a very sweet cat who has been visiting our house for some time now (really she comes to sit under my bird feeder and stare, but I pretend she's coming to visit us).  She is a friendly kitty, and loves to be petted. She seemed well conditioned, not starving, but I would give her some food when she game to visit just the same. I was entertaining the idea of getting a playmate for our rambunctious kitten, and figured it might be a good idea to let my kitty meet the outside kitty (who's name is Pebbles, but we'll get to that).  So I held Marmalade (our kitty...though she's not very smart and doesn't know that's her name) and opened the back door a crack so she and Pebbles could say "hi".  It went well - nobody growled or bared teeth.  So every now and then I would let them say "hi" at the back door in that manner.  I told husband that I was thinking of letting Pebbles in (I broke the news while he was on the road for work, so if I did let Pebbles in there wasn't much he could do about it anyway).  But in the back of my mind I kept thinking for as sweet and friendly with people as she was, and for as good of condition as she was in for winter, she had to be someone's pet.  I saw her several times two streets over by another house and began to speculate as to who her owner was.  Sure enough, one day husband and I were driving by her owner's house and there she was, being played with by two elementary school age kids. I stopped by and asked them if that was their cat and sure enough she was.  About then their mom came out of the house and I told her how Pebbles comes to visit.  She replied that we weren't the only ones Pebbles visits, she'd heard that before.  So, being that Pebbles was someone's PET I was under the impression that she was taken care of. She was obviously being fed and loved, so I assumed that she was also vaccinated and spayed.  I hadn't seen Pebbles much the last few weeks, but she came to visit again today.  And I think she is PREGNANT.  She is a petite little cat but is now sporting this large belly, sort of like a burro.  I might be imagining it, but I swear I can feel kittens (!).  I feel sorry for her now, because I know her owners are obviously too dumb to spay their cat, so maybe they don't even notice she is pregnant?? And maybe she'll have trouble having her babies or have them somewhere awful and cold where the babies don't make it!  My husband suggested we tie a note to her that says "I'm Pregnant" and send her back to her own house.  I'm doing my best to incentivize her to stay by our house (feeding her mainly, though I did put a box with a towel in it on the back step).  I let her inside for five minutes today too. Marmalade just sniffed her, and she just wandered around my kitchen. Its really a shame that Pebbles is going to have babies. We have a feral cat problem as it is in our town.  People always try to say that it costs to much to take pets to the vet, but there are many, many programs for low income people that will help with the cost of spaying or neutering a pet. If you know of someone who owns a pet that isn't fixed, encourage them to contact their local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Humane Society (HSUS) or animal shelter and ask if there are any programs in their area to help with the cost of spaying or neutering.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring is coming

On March 20, the first day of spring, I received the notification that my order from Stark Brothers Nursery shipped. When I returned home last evening from a work trip to Charleston, there they were, nicely packed in two large cardboard boxes on my front porch, shipped for free.  Two blueberry bushes, three grape plants, asparagus starts, two huge rhubarb roots, horseradish, and six fruit trees about 3 1/2 feet high and as big around as my thumb.  Its a tiny bit too cold here right now in the evenings, so the trees and plants will live in our cold, shut off spare room by night, and spend some time on the front deck hardening off by day.  We are off to plant the roots this evening.  While it might not seem like it on a cold snowy day, spring is coming.  The days are getting longer and if you pay attention to the tiniest clues, spring is here!