Harley

So much has happened in just a week…

by grace on April 3, 2022

…and the most important thing is that there was a Harley sighting!!!

Last Sunday I spent a great deal of time creating an eye-catching lost cat flyer and changing it around a lot making many copies. Doing this made me feel that at least I was doing something about poor lost Harley.

Monday wasn’t such a good day. Rainy and dreary, plus I worked myself up about Pumpkin’s eye and texted a lot of people and talked on the phone, then finally called the vet and they said we could bring him in that day.

We took him and they wanted to keep him there for a few hours, so in the meantime we drove to Edinburg to put up flyers and when we got there it felt like it was a completely fruitless endeavor. I put one up in the sad little post office and another up at the gas station but the entire downtown area was boarded up and it looked like every house surely held a meth lab.

I stapled flyers to several utility poles and felt discouraged and hopeless.

We picked up Harley and the vet said he had a corneal ulcer. He needs a drop in his eye three times a day followed by ointment, with a 10-minute gap in between. They put a plastic cone over his head and he seemed OK with it, although very dejected.

We got him home and took off the cone so he could reach his food bowl, and then Kevin went downstairs and I finally put the cone back on Pumpkin whereby he totally freaked out. He crashed into everything, desperately trying to flee the cone. Smash smash, smashing into a shelf next to the couch and into a table and smash smash smash. It was horrible and we were both traumatized. Finally I got it off him and it was all battered. I called Sunny, our friend the cat-whisperer and said he’d be ok without wearing the cone.

Whew. Not a great day, all in all.

But then, Tuesday night, Nancy called to say that her husband Butch had spotted Harley down at their burn pile. Unbelievable! I didn’t know exactly where this burn pile was, but it was fantastic to know that Harley hadn’t run away and hadn’t been eaten by a coyote. Or maybe he did run away but then he came back. Doesn’t matter, it’s just good to know that he’s somewhere near Nancy, because she feeds everybody who comes near the house.

We still have two cameras set up on her property in hopes of catching sight of Harley just so we know he’s sticking around, but so far it has just been photos of cats, deer, possum, raccoons, leaves, more cats…but no Harley. But at least we are hopeful that he’ll want to stick around because of the plethora of food. When I dropped by later in the week to swap out SD cards in the cameras so I could bring them home and look through them on the computer, I realized that the burn pile is kind of down the road from their house, so it’s not as close as I’d hoped. But still…hopeful, that’s my mood right at the moment. Harley lives!

As for Pumpkin, I was worried because he kept his eye shut and I didn’t know if I was even getting any of the drop into his eye because when I pulled his lower lid down all I could see was the inner lid. On Friday I called the vet with many questions and we got to take him back on Saturday morning. When the vet checked out his eye she said he was improving, but it would be a good idea to put in a drop and then wait thirty minutes before putting in the first ointment, so the drop would definitely get totally absorbed. So now it’s a good hour that I spend with him three times a day, which is fine because he’s completely sweet and loving.

So things are pretty good right now, I think.

Meanwhile…I realize there are plenty of photos from January and February that haven’t made it here, but since many have to do with lots of snow, I’m over that. So here are just a few from March, which, dang, it’s already April.

A big platoon of white pelicans mid-March; maybe they’re migrating back home? Not sure about that.

Kevin took Les Paul down to the water and Spot joined them.

I love this picture. Just relaxin’.

Marley spend most of her time upstairs in the guest bedroom but she comes down quite a bit to eat from everybody’s food bowls. This is the first time we saw her on the couch.

Sometimes she lies in Kevin’s lap, which is awesome. Or on his legs…

And here’s a canna lily that bloomed for quite a while inside. Maybe it’ll warm up enough to put plants outside again.

Kevin took me to see a wonderful production of “Fiddler on the Roof” at Sangamon Auditorium.

It was a fantastic production, so well-done, and also so sad and overwhelming because in the end all the people in the town are forced out by the Russians…it’s incomprehensible that the Russians continue to commit atrocities right now.

Whew. On that happy note, I hope you’re enjoying yourself…

Ok then,

G.H.

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It has been a crazy month. Hard to believe that April is almost here. On February 18th I wrote about our attempts to capture one of Wanda’s outdoor kitties, Harley. His brother, Pumpkin, had been successfully taken to live out in the country with Nancy, who had been trying to catch Harley before Kevin and I joined in. We built a cat house in which we hoped to catch Harley but it became clear it wasn’t going to work, he was too smart for us. I started to worry that time was going to run out because they were having an online auction for all the stuff in Wanda’s house and I speculated they’d put the house on the market in the spring. It was maddening to think of not getting Harley.

But then I met an awesome animal rescuer, Rachel, who had a trap that she felt would be just the thing. It was an incredibly heavy wooden box with a sliding door on one side that would slam shut if the animal stepped on the trigger plate in back. Kevin and I picked it up from her on Wednesday, March 9th and lugged it into Wanda’s back yard. We didn’t set the trap because we wanted Harley to feel confident about going inside.

And he did. I think he liked it because it was so spacious. He went in and out a few times, and here he is on Saturday March 12th.

We set the trap on March 13th. He arrived minutes after we left…

And it breaks me heart to say that’s the last we’ve seen of him.

Nancy and her husband went to Wanda’s to retrieve the trap right after he was caught and brought it home to their place outside of Edinburgh – and when they opened it, Harley wriggled free.

It’s been exactly two weeks now that he’s somewhere, who knows where, I don’t like thinking about it.

The day after it happened I spent the day moping around but finally called Rachel. She’s not a moper, she’s a doer! She said we should set up trail cams around Nancy’s property, and post signs up around Edinburg.

We couldn’t use our camera that we’d used at Wanda’s because they don’t have internet out there in the country. So we set up the trail cams and there have been some issues with them, but I think they’re finally capturing lots of activity. The last time we checked, we saw plenty of deer, a couple of Nancy’s cats, a pheasant, a coyote, a raccoon, birds, squirrels, a possum’s tail…but so far, no Harley.

Did he run far away from Nancy’s? Did he run all the way to Edinburg? We haven’t put up flyers yet but I finally finished them today and we’re taking them around tomorrow.

The horrible, horrible thing is not knowing where he could possibly be. Somebody suggested that since they’d heard about animals traveling long distances to get back home, maybe he’d show up at Wanda’s? It’d be good if he was in the neighborhood there because at least people would feed him, but I bet a realtor wouldn’t want a cat hanging around when the house is up for sale. And it seems unlikely that he’d be able to travel that far anyway.

So, bummed. Bummer.

However, there is a silver lining…when I thought about Harley being missing, I thought about Pumpkin, sitting in a cage in Nancy’s garage. She has a fantastic set-up for many, many cats, but the few times I’d seen him when Wanda was still alive, I thought that Pumpkin should be an inside kitty.

So when we went to Nancy’s on Wednesday to set up the cameras, we picked up Pumpkin.

He was a good boy on the ride to our house and he’s been living in our second extra bedroom upstairs ever since. Here he is a few days ago.

There are a couple of issues – there are always issues – his eyes are red and swollen and now it looks like there’s a bubble on one of them, which he keeps closed. We took him to the vet and he’s on medication which will hopefully clear up the problem. And today I realized that he’s been using the carpet for a litter box. He seemed enthusiastic about the box initially, but this morning it finally dawned on me that he’s not using it. Oh boy.

But like I said, always issues, and I’m sure we’ll get it straightened out and meanwhile he’s incredibly happy to be here. I’ve opened his door so he could explore the house but so far he prefers to remain where he is, which is just fine. We’re up to six cats now, quite a few.

And maybe we’ll find Harley, stranger things have happened…

ok then,

Mrs. Sunday Hughes.

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The New Year…

by grace on February 18, 2022

…has had so much cat activity. In addition to now having five inside cats plus two outside , we are endeavoring to catch one of Wanda’s two outside cats, Harley.

Harley and his brother Pumpkin came to Wanda’s when they were tiny kittens. Their mom carried them over, as I believe the story goes. When I’d been at Wanda’s, Pumpkin was always super affectionate and loving but Harley was skittish and we couldn’t get too close to him.

After Wanda died on December 17th, there was the issue of what to do with these two abandoned kitties. Wanda’s friend found a terrific woman named Nancy who lives out in the country and harbors many, many cats, both domesticated and feral. She’s a terrific cat rescuer, doing things like regularly feeding a colony of feral cats living in a trailer park.

It was easy for them to pick up Pumpkin and take him to live at Nancy’s. I’m not sure exactly when this happened, but I guess it was not long after Wanda passed away.

Wanda’s son, Sam, was staying at Wanda’s for a while and Harley warmed up to Sam and let him pet him. But then Sam tried to pick up Harley to take him away and Harley’s reaction was WHAT THE F**K!!! He sprinted away from Sam and wouldn’t come near him anymore.

So for about two months the bonded brothers have been separated and it’s so incredibly heartbreaking. I know that other cats have it worse, but to know their story makes it sad.

Nancy set a trap for Harley but he was way too cunning to fall for that kind of shenanigan. Nancy then covered the trap with a blanket but Harley scoffed at the ruse.

Kevin and I finally got involved in January; Wanda had a big, insulated cat hutch on her back deck that the cats enjoyed when it was cold out, and Kevin’s idea was to install a door on the front of the hutch, a door that would swing open and shut but could be locked once Harley got used to going in and out.

Upon examination, however, we realized that because the hutch was rounded there was no way to mount a door. So I bought a bright red storage tub and kevin cut a hole in it and mounted the door. We decided to keep the door propped open for a while, hoping that Harley would get used to it, then would go in when the door was closed, and finally we could lock him in.

We had to know if we’d trapped him, though, so Kevin bought a motion-detecting camera and installed it inside the new kitty house.

Setting up the camera was a huge, huge pain; we tried connecting it at home and had many wi-fie issues and all the stuff you’d imagine could happen with technology. We finally got it working here, though, and then took it to Wanda’s. Once again it was a big rigamarole trying to get it to work, but finally we had success, yay!

Here is our first photo on January 16th. the house was inviting, with a soft cushion covered with a heated pad. A friend said it looked like Jeannie’s bottle from “I dream of Jeannie.”

The only problem? That’s not Harley! It’s some other giant neighborhood cat who was delighted to find the warm digs with a meal inside. Oh well, at least the setup and the camera worked.

On January 19th, this guy showed up. Possums also enjoy a meal inside. As you can see by the time stamp, this was 1:39 a.m.

The next night the grey kitty curled up inside the house. He looks so very cozy, although he didn’t actually stay that long.

But then, January 24th, ta da! Harley himself appeared. At night the camera is black and white but we could tell it was Harley. At this point Kevin had re-mounted the camera to the outside of the house because we weren’t getting consistent alerts when it was inside.

The next day we were alerted when Nancy stopped by to replenish the food bowl.

And an hour later, Harley showed up. I feel that many times he’s lurking nearby, waiting for the food.

Here’s me on January 28th. I’m wearing these great shoes that Kevin bought me for Christmas. They’re too big but they’re very warm and keep my feet dry and I love them because I can just slip them on. The too-bigness hasn’t bugged me.

…and an hour later, Harley showed up!

They next day it was the giant grey kitty.

When Harley appeared an hour later the food was probably gone.

That’s the photos from January, but the saga continues. We tried closing the flap but that was a massive fail; nobody pushed open the door. We’ll keep the door open for a while and try again.

Meanwhile…After getting a foot of snow a couple of weeks ago, it rained a lot two nights ago then that turned to freezing rain yesterday morning and a significant layer of ice formed on the ground before it snowed and snowed and snowed some more and now there’s about four inches. The funny thing is that on Wednesday it had gotten so warm that the snow was almost gone and I went running. No more of that for a while.

Ok Then,

Mrs. Fullly Cat-Crazy plus this winter needs to end soon Hughes.

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