Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Third time's the charm?

For the third year in a row, I am adopting a kitten. In 2016, it was the lovely young Tanner, who's life was cut tragically short by lymphoma at the age of 11 months. In 2017, Frosti made a 9 month appearance but turned into a total bully with Pips and Lila, although with humans, he was super! He went back to the Humane Society to find a single cat home.

In 2018, actually this past Sunday, I brought home a skinny little kitten I have named Aska. The name is Icelandic and it means 'ashes'. I chose that name for two reasons, really. One is her colour. She is a dilute calico, meaning she is white with grey and tan/buff. A regular calico is white with black and orange. She appears to have amber eyes but the final colour isn't set as of yet, as she is only 5-6 weeks old. The second is she was so close to dying, this is like she has literally risen out of the ashes to live again!

I know someone in the city who cares for a colony of feral cats. She traps the adults, gets them spayed or neutered, vaccinated and then returns them to their colony site, as they are wild and not tameable. She is doing her part (more than, actually) in trying to curb the feral cat problem in the city. (There are an estimated 100,000 feral cats in this city of 750,000 people.) Any kittens she can trap, if young enough, will be tamed, then adopted out, spayed, neutered, vaccinated, and dewormed. She feeds the colony and has insulated shelters for winter. Life as a feral cat is hard and usually much shorter than for house cats. She has a huge heart and works hard to do right by these cats.

A couple of weeks ago, a tiny kitten showed up in her back yard, where she has a feeding station for the strays in the area. She managed to trap it and take it in. It was a very young, very dehydrated and starving female kitten. My friend kept her for almost 2 weeks, feeding her with a dropper at first with kitten milk replacer and water, then feeding high quality mom and babycat food intended for lactating females and weaning kittens, and getting her strength up. She also took the kitten to the vet, where she was checked out as healthy but underweight, no fleas, no ear mites and blood tested for FIV (think HIV for cats ~ they can live a normal life even if positive) and FeLV (feline leukemia, which is a death sentence). The kitten was negative for both of those diseases.

I had donated $100 towards her vet bill (I follow her feral cat page on facebook and had been watching her posts on this little one) and told her if the kitten was negative for FIV and FeLV, I would adopt her. She would have to be negative for FIV, as Lila is allergic to vaccines and has not been vaccinated for anything since the age of two, where she had severe reactions even when premedicated with antihistamines and steroids, and she is now nine. So when the kitten got a clean bill of health last Friday, I made arrangements to go see her on Sunday. She weighed a mere 0.73 kg (1.6 lb)! You can feel her shoulder blades, spine and hip bones. She has no pudgy kitten belly, no rolly poly at all. She is so skinny! And she's actually put on weight in the past two weeks eating good food at my friend's place!

My friend is letting me use a large wheeled multilevel cage to keep the kitten in while she gets bigger, and the older cats have a chance to get accustomed to her presence. Both Pips and Lila have been growly and hissy, but Aska has been rather unperturbed by it all. She is affectionate and loves to be petted. She purrs like crazy and any touch gets her tail and bum up in the air. She is eating well, drinking water well, using the litter box with normal bodily functions, and is playing on the cat tree when I get her out of the cage and let her loose in the front room (with the door closed, of course).

I have fostered kittens before who were younger (remember that litter of 5 from a few years ago? they were 4 weeks old when I got them) but never one this thin. I am hoping she starts building some muscle and putting on some weight now that she is getting out of the cage and climbing around on the cat tree. She is so very cute!

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Rain Chain... Pt II

I'd say it works as it should. I may, in the future, add some clusters of metal leaves to the chain, provided I can find some galvanized metal that I can cut with snips. I don't have a scroll saw, nor do I want to buy one. So we'll see if it evolves. But in the meantime, I am pleased!

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Working on a chain gang

Did you sing that line? I did, while typing it out. "Workin' on the chain.... gaaayang!"

My house has a hip roof, meaning it has four sides, not just two. The eavestrough runs all the way around but there are only two downspouts, both at front corners. And (of course) one of the back corners always drips where there is often standing water in it. It is annoying. I don't want to spent a ton of money getting them redone so I decided on a DIY solution.

Did that surprise you? LOL!!

I decided to make a rain chain for that corner. I looked at lots of different ones online. Really liked one made of a copper chain with clusters of copper leaves hanging on it, but buying one was a bit pricey. I did find a DIY site on how to make one, but it involved making the chain from copper tubing, and the leaves from copper sheeting, which is definitely doable but also time consuming and I wanted something put up quickly as we've been having a lot of rain storms in the past few weeks.

(isn't it pretty?)

I found one that I thought looked cute and functional, made with galvanized chain and tiny galvanized metal buckets from a craft store. I bought 5 - 4" buckets and made holes in the bottom, strung them along the chain, spaced equally, and secured the handles with wire. My idea was for it to look something like this:

To make it a little more interesting, I bought galvanized letters to spell out R A I N in the place of every second bucket. So I made the holes in the bottom of the buckets and strung them on the chain but it was so noisy! This chain will be on the corner of the house closest to my bedroom window, and it is often fairly windy here (you know, on the bald ass prairie, there is nothing to slow the wind down ~ this part of Manitoba is as flat as a table top) so that wasn't going to work. So I opted for using just the chain and the letters.

At the bottom, I put a tall planter made of recycled rubber. I drilled a few holes in the bottom on the side away from the house for the water to drain away from the foundation. The patio block it sits on is slightly angled away from the house as well. It is weighted in the bottom so is stable, and is year round durable so I can leave it out in the winter. That bit will be important during the spring thaw when the snow melts off the roof and drips down this corner. I am going to fill it with river rocks (to be purchased from the local hardware store) as pea gravel is small enough to plug the holes I drilled and I want to make sure unimpeded drainage is maintained.

So what do you think?