Cat Fixin' – Got the Jimmy Legs

Cat Fixin'

The animals I've trapped have all become my pets

BailiffUPDATE: So I come home last night in anticipation of taking in these 3 cats only to find Baliff's room empty and a big hole in the window screen. I had opened the window to diffuse the scent of cat spray and the damn cat poked a hole in the screen and bolted! What an ingrate. I put the trap back out but he didn't go for it. As soon as I find him, I'm a neuter him myself!

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I took a break from the TNR work for a while, but in the last couple of weeks a new batch revealed itself unto us, and we were again moved to strike. Also we met some like-minded individuals who live a couple blocks away, and have been providing them with hardware and advice, leading to the incarceration of 3 cats. Meanwhile we captured 3 of our own, although this group differs from the usuals. While one seems to be a real feral, the other two appear to be tame housecat types, though somewhat worse for the wear being on the streets.

The Bishop!The latter are Baliff and Bishop, two black cats who look like brothers and may be related to the little black female I caught a little while ago (they all seemed to show up around the same time). In a fit of optimism I brought in these guys and stored them in adjoining rooms of the house. They immediately sprayed all over the place, rendering the house a vile and inhospitable place. Thanks, guys!

high lonesomeBut it's all in a day's work, I thought. Then I remembered, I've got a big damn cage in the back yard that could have held at least one of them. Oh well, I have a gallon of Nature's Miracle, whose motto is, I believe, "60% of the time, it works ALL the time." Lucky for me, my allergies have been acting up so I can't smell anything anyway. But it's making the other cats act funny. And speaking of the other cats, here's who's left to adopt out:

Adopt meAs you may know, we've taken Merc inside since he's proven himself to be friendly. We've been calling him "Truffle" mostly because we just watched 2 entire seasons of Top Chef and apparently adding truffle oil to anything makes it better. And so it goes with this guy, he's a hoot. He'll be ready for adoption any day now, just hoping to get him a little less skittish. And get him to stop chewing on my fingers (???)

Bring it back easy, Charlie!And then there's Annabelle, the sad-eyed Decatur clone. She has really come out of her shell, but she has yet to make that real transition into lapcatdom. I think she has it in her, she chases me down to get petted, she's just very flinchy. Hmm, "Flinchy," that's a good cat name!

Curlytail MarblesFinally, Marbles seems to enjoy pounding on the other cats. She will sit at the bottom of the stairs and bop them each on the head as they run down. I bought a clicker at Petco and per the Salon article about The Cat Whisperer, I've been giving her treats and clicking when she does something good, which already has had an amazing effect. She's been docile and limiting her quarreling with the other cats! It's probably too soon to tell, but this training crap might actually work!

Twist away the gates of steel

Sheer Hatred, originally uploaded by Jimmy Legs.

My company is now officially another company. Whoopee. The last week has been super annoying, the kind of week that makes me want to push people's buttons just because you know you can quickly have them as annoyed as you are. This is the kind of week that you almost wish for a crowded subway, just so you have an excuse to elbow a stranger in the ribs. Luckily, this is a wish I don't have to hold my breath to get on a regular basis.

I supposed over all the transition has been pretty smooth, I just have lots of tedious stuff to do, people pushing me from all sides even though none of them really know what they want. They just know somebody is supposed to be doing something, so everybody's been running around like their hair's on fire, if only to look like they know what's going on.

I skipped a company party to pick up some TNR cats from the shelter. It's times like these I suspect my priorities need to be reevaluated. But then I remember that trapping wild cats doesn't adequately fund the lifestyle I enjoy that has proper resources to trap and hold feral cats. Then I shut up and I get back to work. You should get back to work too.

Where you been

Where you been, originally uploaded by Jimmy Legs.

That's the newest feral to fall into our clutches. I'm pleased that it's a female (I think), because that means getting her spayed will stop her from having any kittens, PLUS female cats are much less likely to spray. This is in some ways the biggest plus of this whole TNR thing, a reduction in cat musk. I don't know what evolutionary side street this noxious stuff came from, but in sufficient doses it's every bit as horrible as skunk odor. My neighbor had a cat mark his front door and he tried to remove it with an ammonia-based cleanser. Big mistake; the ammonia actually makes it worse!

Anyway, enough cats (for now). I put this photo up because I didn't take any pictures at the Market Hotel, where we saw Black Dice play last weekend. It's the newish venue above Mr. Kiwi's, below the Myrtle JMZ station.

What's good about it:

  • 3 train stops from my house, meaning virtually no pesky walking in getting to and from venue.
  • Fairly smart staff/residents, who keep an orderly line and know when to cut off entry so as to avoid a Shirtwaist Fire situation. There were maybe a couple too many reminders about not hanging out in front of the club, but when we left there were indeed a bunch of stupid people loitering right in front and drawing undue attention to the joint.
  • Bar served Budweiser, which, I know, is a lame megabrewery, but Bud is easier to stomach than, say, Busch, which for some reason has become the only beer available at these places. I need to bring that flask, but it's nice to put a little more money back into the venue.
  • They had a coat check! It looked like they were just throwing coats on the floor of the room, but points for trying. I am not at all certain the place has any real heating source of its own, the heat being provided by the 500+ people in attendance (Matrix-style). Since we can never leave a venue until the proprietors are meaningfully sweeping the floor over our feet, it was notably colder and a coat was warranted.

Not so hot:

  • This is debatable, but the place is really big. That sounds like a good thing, and for most I'm sure it is. But for me it was a bit cavernous. The sound was actually pretty good, but I guess I just prefer tiny clubs (as long as they're not crowded). Maybe this is why so many bands I like never make it; if I like your band, you're probably playing a small club to few people. Oops.
  • It's getting a lot of attention and has booked some larger shows: How long can it last before a) it attracts huge, lame crowds or b) it gets shut down?

Not so hot this weekend for the Ghengis Tron show: Queens-bound JMZ trains are not running between Myrtle and Broadway Junction. shuttle buses take their place on Bushwick Ave. Okay we could probably walk it and not die. And it's just the Queens-bound side, so getting there is no problem. But if the show runs late the likelihood of catching a bus is slim. Of course, shuttle buses can be surprisingly frequent, but I'm still dreading it. I guess we could take a car home, but that's even lamer to consider.

I'm still Jenny from the block

Hey does anybody attend their Block Association meetings? I finally did a couple weeks ago. Sorta.

When we moved in at the end of 2006 we received a flyer for the meeting, but we didn't make it. We didn't see another flyer until a month ago, so I decided I better make it to this one so I could find out the schedule. It was at 6PM, so Jeannie couldn't go. Plus it was that Tuesday a couple weeks ago that snowed all day. I was running around, picking up newly-fixed cats from BARC,I was tired and I had to shovel the sidewalk so nobody sued me. I was thinking of reasons not to go, but I went anyway.

The meeting was at the library at the end of the block, whose staff didn't seem to know anything about any meetings. But the Young Adult Coordinator checked her log book and confirmed that somebody booked a meeting room. She took me to the empty room, so I sat around trying to determine how long to stay before I could in good conscience, bail.

Eventually a guy showed up, he was the treasurer of the group. Nobody else showed up. But we talked for a while and he said he'd try to adjust the meeting to make them more appealing to the block (like moving the time to 7PM so people could actually make it). He had lots of ideas he wanted to act on, but of course the problem was money, and getting people to pitch in.

One idea included getting the city to erect barriers on our block during the days of summer, so the kids could play without fear of being mowed down by anything but gunfire. He brought up an initiative to get people to clean up after their dogs, which would be nice though I'm not sure how to enact it except to put up a bunch of scolding flyers.

When he started talking about dogs, it gave me leeway to starts my spiel on cats. I told him about our TNR efforts, and how the people we've worked with would trap ferals in people's backyards for free. He warmed to the idea, especially when I noted that a fixed cat won't spray that awful musk, or make yowly mating noises.

Additionally I pointed out the ASPCA would be coming to Saratoga park on the 28th to do their Free/Low-Cost Spay thing. He seemed vaguely aware of the Mobile Clinic, but didn't know its schedule. So I said I'd put up some flyers to alert people.

I only put a few homemade flyers (which I forgot to save so I don't have any electronic version, the ones here are general info flyers) up that explain the process, but I justified it because I wanted to focus attention on my own block. While I was hanging a flyer, a couple of women walking a little dog asked me about it. They too seemed to be familiar with it, but didn't know the details. I gave them a flyer and clarified that people on assistance got their pets fixed for free, which they didn't know. Not sure if they'll take their dog in, but I'm glad to get a little evidence that the flyers might help.

Now I just gotta find a way to get more people to show up to the meeting! Maybe I can get the newly-renovated Dunkin Donuts to cater the affair.

Where the cabs don't stop

Get out your shovels, originally uploaded by Jimmy Legs.

So we finally got some real snow! I wonder how long it will last this time, the afternoon forecast is for "Wintry Mix" which always makes me think of "Winter Blend," the combo of cauliflower and broccoli sold in the Key Food frozen food section. So it never sounds as bad as it actually is.

This morning I got to take a barometer reading of how Bushwick is affected when Old Man Winter descend upon us. As you know, I've been trapping feral cats and getting them fixed at BARC through a new program. I was planning on bringing in a cat this morning, but had to give up because everybody was using up all the car services.

I've done this before, call up a car service around 8, jam up to BARC to drop off the cat(s), then hop on the L train to go to work. But every single number I called was either busy or giving me that interminable 'hold' recording ("Your call is very important to us"). I did get one answer from a poor soul who seems to have received the phone number of what I'm guessing is a now-defunct livery company ("why people call all the time this number?!')

What I can't figure out is, who's taking these cars? When it snows a lot, isn't mass transit still the preferred mode of travel? The streets weren't too bad, at least there wasn't much traffic when I headed out later, the cat back in its room to wait until tomorrow to go in. But what few cars were out were moving slow; I can't imagine anybody was getting anywhere faster this way.

So who is it taking up all the cars on these days? Is it people taking their kids to school? Somehow that seems to be the only possible justifiable reason, even though that too doesn't make a lot of sense. Don't people know that those cars are needed to cart stray cats around town?

I suppose I could just take the cat on the train, though the prospect of walking with my poorly-designed cat carrier from the Marcy station to BARC is fairly daunting. So maybe I'm just a wimp, but at least I won't annoy people on the train with a yowling space-taking-up box.

If I win the lottery, I'm buying BARC a helicopter just for pet transport.