“The Mushroom’s Other Hat” is now available

Do fairies really dance within fairy rings on moonlit nights? Amber, the mushroom, doesn’t seem to know. But she does know that she hates her ordinary-looking mushroom cap. She sets out to express her individuality but soon discovers much more about her fairy ring mushroom colony and about herself.

MR Cover Rt

Written for children aged 4 to 8, The Mushroom’s Other Hat draws from legend to become a new fairytale that rejoices in individuality, as well as belonging.

The book is now available at Amazon.com

Makes a great holiday gift  for children or grandkids!

What’s cuter than a kitten?

Kitty May,17Five kittens, of course!

Five fluffy kittiesIt’s spring. That means new growth in cats as well as flowers. We’ve had four mother cats and their litters at the shelter recently. Three batches of kittens were spoken for at the “Kitty Shower” several weeks ago. Now Hyacinth has four tiny babies in isolation–a couple haven’t open their eyes yet. And these five little balls of fluff were found in someone’s garage and brought to the shelter.

Many of the cats retrieved from the hoard of 70 are still with us, and seemingly unadoptable, but two, named Clover and Dahlia, Clover & Dahliasomehow survived those awful conditions and remain sweet, lovable cats. They keep each other company and are awaiting adoption. Dahlia’s the long-haired one on the right. Clover was a surprise to me because for weeks she greeted me, and others, with a hiss. But it turned out that her ‘bark’ is much worse than her bite (which is none-existent.) She just melts when you reach over to pet her.

There’s really no one else ready for adoption except my latest favorite, Timmy. Timmy

He’s a large brown eight-year-old who can’t get enough petting–unless you stop to give him treats.  Then he stops to eat. Hope he soon finds the loving home he deserves.

Reshuffling the Shelter

Almost two weeks ago a woman in our area was found to be hoarding about 50 cats in her home. The woman was ill and taken to a hospital.  And we had a big reshuffling of cat cages at the Bloomfield Shelter. 

All the cats we had for adoption were moved into the smaller cat room, usually reserved for those not yet ready for adoption, so the larger room could house some of those rescued cats. The staff told me that cats in really bad shape were collected by a vet. But they brought 29 others to the shelter. At least I think that’s how many. I have yet to see them. Most of the cats came in with respiratory infections. The room is in isolation; only staff allowed.

That small cat room went from four cats—Tiger, Peanut, Bubba and Abigail, a young mom with her tiny kitten, Preston— to 12 cats. Surprisingly, within days, two cats I thought unlikely to be adopted because they were older and had less than winning personalities, (Mo, mo2who had arrived in Dec. with Larry and Curly—both adopted ages ago—being one of them) suddenly found permanent homes. As did the lovely Aria. 

Then a gray lady was brought in. With no name given her, I called her Smokey. But today she had a name added to her cage, “NiKita.”  NiKitaAt least someone on staff thinks she’s a Russian Blue. A description of the breed on the Internet says that the Russian Blues “develop close bonds with their owners and are sought out as pets due to their personalities, beauty and coat.”  Nikita certainly has a winning personality. She acknowledges people as they enter the room; she’s very gentle and cannot get enough petting.  I will be surprised if she’s not adopted within a short time.

Meanwhile, the shelter is awaiting the official turning over of ownership of the rescued cats. And I am looking forward to meeting a room full of new-to-me felines.

Leo & Simone

These two beautiful cats came leo-simone
to the shelter when their person could no longer take care of them. Both of them are sweet-natured so it must have been a real hardship to give them up.

Leo is large and has Maine Coon in him. He enjoys having his long coat combed and probably was of the privileged class of cats who actually visited a groomer. leo

Simone is a real pussycat! She just can’t get enough stroking; throughly enjoying a petting session, she even shows her white belly. simone2

They must have had the run of a home because, when they are free to roam about the cat room, they immediately go to a door, seemingly expecting to be let out into a greater space–or possibly out doors? Being in a cage together, even a large cage, is beginning to get to the two. Leo occasionally lashes out with a paw while Simone wards him with a low growl.  The good news for these two is they’ve already been spoken for.  They are scheduled to enjoy a new home and a new person on Friday.

Hoping for a New Song

ariaThe tiny grey-striped sat huddled in the corner of her cage. Her food from the day before was untouched. She had hardly used her kitty litter. The label on her dark, bottom cage named her Aria and said she had been captured on a street in Bloomfield the previous day. 

I offered her some dry food from my fingertips but she cowered into a tighter ball. Placing wet food in a bowl, I inched it under her nose. Aria took a few tentative licks. After I cleaned her cage—it hardly needed it—I sat on the floor by the open door with one hand as close to her as she allowed. After about 10 minutes I was able to stroke her cheek, just a bit. Then she pulled her head away. Poor little Aria, I thought. You are definitely singing the blues.

When I looked in on her the following week, she was peeking out from under her pillow-bed. At least her food had been eaten. Once again I sat by her, inching my hand into her cage. Her eyes grew large but she didn’t back away. I stroked her cheek, then behind her ears. She tilted her head into my hand. Gradually she inched forward and turned so I could reach her back. I continued to pet her until she turned belly up. 

I wasn’t sure if she would trust a belly rub, but she did let me lift her into my arms. I moved her to an empty, top cage where she could get some light and actually see other cats. This was a whole new point of view for Aria, and she perked up.

But the next day she was out to the vet for spaying. Oh, no, I thought. I’ll have to start all over.

But we didn’t have to. Yesterday she enjoyed another petting session and even began a faint purr. Hoping next time for a new, happy song from Aria.

More from the Shelter

Wednesday I learned that my favorite shelter cat, Black Jack, was adopted. I am happy for him, though I miss him. He’s an older, all black guy who can’t get enough petting and just loves to sit in the kitty nest. I figured he was perfect for someone who wblack-jack-nestingants the companionship of a cat, but is not looking for a lively kitten. Hope that’s who found him.

I worry about a couple of the older cats, particularly Mo. She is mostly white with black markings. Her best feature is her green eyes.  She was abandoned outside the shelter, stuffed into one carrier with Larry and Curly, who were each adopted in December. Mo is sweet, though not as outgoing as some of the other cats so I fear she’s too easy to be overlooked.mo2

A couple of adorable kittens have joined the adoption room. Nick—I don’t know who is picking the names; I might have called him Patches— is a lively one and would probably do well in a family with children. Nick has such a pretty facnick2e that I find myself referring to him as ‘her.’ How about that those eyes! He wears brown eyeliner!

He’s still doesn’t like to be held so I didn’t let him out to play; there are so many places in the room where a kitten can go and I cannot follow to retrieve him. But playing with a toy through his cage kept us both busy for 15 minutes.

Shelter Stories

Absolutely no pets are allowed in our building. Had MishMish still been living when we were ready to move, we would not have moved here. But, now that we have, I’m getting my kitty fix at the Bloomfield Animal Shelter. I’ve been a volunteer for only three weeks, but the strangest thing has happened. When I get especially attracted to a cat, it gets adopted. It’s happened three times! 

I met Aiden the first week—didn’t even get a chance to take his picture. He is a truly sweet and beautiful tabby who loves human attention. But he has FIV— feline immunodeficiency virus. Who knew that cats have a version of that plague too? Unlike humans, he doesn’t have to be given medication to keep him well. The good news is that, kept inside in a one-cat family and fed a good diet, this loving cat has an excellent change of leading a healthy life. Aiden had spent over a year in the shelter and I expected to see much more of him. But when I came on week two, I learned that he had been adopted by a young couple. How wonderful for them all!

Then there was Frances. She’s an older lady who can’t get enough nuzzling but, when offered the chance to play in the room, prefers to remain in her cage. Frances had also spent over a year in the shelter.

And Larry. larryHe was found, abandoned in one carrier with two other cats, that the shelter people named Curly and Mo. I cannot imagine deserting three such lovely friends, nor can I imagine how anyone could stuff three cats into one carrier! I have trouble getting one cat into a carrier. Larry, the orange tabby and Curly, the older, elegant tuxedo were given a large cage to share at the shelter. Mo has her own place; she bullied the others, though by herself, she’s a sweetie. I fell in love with Larry, who loves petting and enjoys play.

To my surprise when I arrived on week three, both Frances and Larry had been adopted. 

Today I spent time with Black Jack—he’s totally black with one tiny white spot between his shoulders.black-jack He is always first to meow when anyone enters the room and can never get enough petting. Rebecca, one of the staff, thinks he a long timer because people are still superstitious about black cats. But now that Black Jack is my latest favorite, I’m wondering if he’ll be adopted within the week.