Tag Archives: cute cats

Delight is Not Happy

delightOkay, you people, listen up because I have just about had it, do you hear me?

I came here as a kitten with my brother Oreo after my mom died, and a week later he disappeared. They told me he’d been “adopted.” Sure. They killed him and stuffed his body somewhere.

So time goes by – I don’t know how much, okay? I’m a cat; it’s not like we wear watches or anything – and they’re feeding me wet stuff and there’s lots of cats here to talk to, although none of them knows where my brother is beyond that “gone to his forever home” thing, which sounds ominous to me. Still, being here, it’s not all bad, is what I’m saying. Or it wasn’t.

They kept trying to touch me. Some weird human fetish, I guess, they wanted to “pet” me, which means they bothered me when I was eating. Although I admit that spinal swipe thing feels kinda nice.

Anyway, one day they put down the wet food like always, and I start in, and suddenly the chick is behind me – there’s two chicks and a guy do most of the cat stuff here; don’t ask me about the relationships; humans are weird – and she grabs me. Hard. Tight. Scary.

I scream and struggle but she stuffs me in this box, and then we’re moving, and then I’m in this place full of barking dogs and this other lady has this needle – like two feet long, I’m telling you – and she STICKS IT IN ME!!!!

Next thing I know they’re all dancing around saying “she tested negative” and telling me how great this is, but I’m back in the see-through box with the hard sides, and my leg is killing me, and I’m just plotting how I can take them all down in one good karate bite-kick-chop. I’ve got moves these girls haven’t seen yet.

But I let it go, because they take me back to the place with all the wet food and cats, and the other cats, some of them got stuck too, so we’re all limping around trading war stories, and I’m a little more careful after that. No more unexpected grabbing.

And then….. and then…..

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, right? This morning when the chick puts down wet food and gets all sweet and sneaky standing nearby, I know something’s up. I don’t bite. Literally. No wet food for me. And I think that’s the end of it.

Do you know what that bi–chick did? She waited until I was IN THE LITTER BOX. Is NOTHING private any more in this hellhole?

She grabs me – mid-stream, mind you – and I’m fighting for all I’m worth but the other chick appears from nowhere, and it’s back in the hard box with the see-through sides, and we’re moving again, and I think I’m going back to the barking dogs and scary smells place but after a LONG time (and I can hear other cats as we’re moving, but none of us know where we’re going) suddenly we’re in this bright room, and it’s again with the needle, but instead of it hurting the room starts spinning, and then it’s dark…

..and I wake up on this soft mattress and this lady with red hair is saying I was “so brave” and “everything’s fine” and I’m thinking “you don’t know for fine, bitch, just put your face a little closer to those bars.”

The other girls who came here with me, they’re all waking up too, and we’re exchanging notes, and we’ve all got sore tummies and little scars, and one of ’em, she heard from her mom, this is called “spraying.” We’ve all been sprayed.

I did not sign a consent form. That said, I don’t object to the idea I’ll never have to worry about raising kids. I saw how Mom struggled with Oreo and me before she got sick, how she worried about us as she was dying. All she wanted was for us to have it better, so no, I don’t want that responsibility. Still and all, it would have been nice to be asked. And that litter box scoop? No. Just, no.

Goes to show, you can’t trust anyone. Think I’ll be letting my guard down, that human hands will ever touch me again? Ha. No. Nyet. Not this little tuxedo cat. Nope.

I’ve got my eye on you, people.

Editor’s note: it is assumed by the staff cats and humans of the Little Bookstore that Miss, ehm, “Delight” will be staying with us indefinitely. While we welcome inquiries into her adoption, we recognize that it would be difficult to catch her in pursuit of such an option. Also, her personality is… challenging. Thus she may spend her days in our basement, eating, sleeping, and coming and going as she pleases. We have been advised by Owen Meany, esquire, that she has sought his legal counsel and an injunction has been filed against further caressing, touching, or medical procedures.

Good thing we got her spayed. That’s all that matters.

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, humor, Hunger Games, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch, writing

Not Quite a Diva

So the Celtic Festival is upon us, which explains why neither Jack nor Wendy can get a blog post out between getting the flags and signs to each venue, handing out towels to musicians overflowing the bookstore – I don’t even know the names of the guys sleeping in the Science Fiction section – and feeding the foster cats. dickson

Actually, herding the cats and herding the musicians is much of a muchness……

It’s all bedlam and bagpipes right now, and we wouldn’t have it any other way, but the cat rescue  still needs to be looked after. Appalachian Feline Friends is primarily a foster organization, but has a small place where we hold cats between leaving the local shelter and entering foster or forever families. AFF had an unexpected and urgent opportunity to empty four cages from the shelter, so in the midst of all the musical mayhem, when a fellow cat lover was able to pull them, I needed to figure out how to get the kitties into the holding tank by myself, since Jack was up to his eyebrows in parade plans.

Enter Barbara Dickson, singer-guitarist extraordinaire and this year’s festival headliner. She and Jack are old friends, from their shared hometown of Dunfermline, Fife. When I called the bookstore from the vet’s office to see if anyone had ten minutes to spare, I was told “Barbara will meet you out front.” She marched herself into the car, settled one of the carriers on her lap, and said, “Right, we’re off.”

At the holding tank, I warned her that there might be a certain catishness to the place, and she waved a hand. When I opened the door, she took a sniff and said, “Right. Where’s the broom and the mop bucket?”

For the next hour and a half, as I fed and watered and cuddled kitties, Barbara swept, mopped, and cleaned up suspicious stains. We had a blast. When I thanked her profusely, she said, “Pff. I love cats.”

And the next day, Barbara put on a dress, put up her hair, and delivered a standing ovation concert to open the Big Stone Celtic Festival.

She’s a woman like that.

You can hear one of Barbara’s Friday night songs here: Big Stone Celtic Day.

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Scotland, shopsitting, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Ariel Chats with the Crowd

arielHi! I’m Ariel! I’m an Appalachian Feline Friends foster cat, which means I have a safe place to stay while my furrever family finds me.

I’m really glad to be an AFF cat, but I’m getting kinda bored, y’know? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I know good and well what COULDA happened – don’t think I don’t. It’s just that I’ve been waiting about six weeks now and I only get out to play once a day and it’s just flat boring.

Peggotty, the cat in the pen next to mine, she’s a good conversationalist and sometimes we talk. About the places we’ve been, the hard times we’ve seen, the kinda homes we’re hoping to have. She wants a big place where she can run around up and down stairs, and a nice soft bed to sleep on indoors at night.

Come to think of it, so do I. I’m a real sporty girl, love to run and play, and when I do get my paws on that jingle ball, baby, it’s mine. But I also have a warm side. Shoulder rides are kinda… you know, nice.

What I really wish is I could be captain of a volleyball team, really a beach volleyball team, but the people who work here say they don’t give those jobs to cats. Which is a shame. We’d have won those Olympic thingees for y’all.

But okay, so I have to do cat jobs. I’ll take care of your mice, and I’ll keep my litter box and my bed neat as a pin, and if you have other cats around I’ll play nice with ’em. I’m not too familiar with dogs, but hey, they should be easy for me to train. Never had any trouble teaching the kittens right from wrong, and they’re smarter than dogs. No kittens for me, though. I’m spayed.

Not that I’m prejudiced, mind. Live and let live, that’s my motto. Except for mice. That’s different.

So if you’re looking for a sporty girl with some high energy love to give who would just love to curl up against your shoulder at night for some quality cuddle-n-purr time, look no further. Call AFF and ask for Ariel.

Oh, and yeah, Peggotty’s here too. She says hi.

 

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Filed under animal rescue, bookstore management, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Saint Beth visits the Virgin Vault

Long story short, Jack is in Scotland, which means I’m throwing away things he won’t miss when he returns, and intaking kittens at an exponential rate.

It’s a marriage thing.

Happily, this Wednesday six of our adult cats are going to an urban no-kill shelter that works with rural rescuers. Even more happily, those not already spayed or neutered don’t have to be, because they have a vet who volunteers these services. Which is a big help on our pocketbook here as my crochet time dwindles for fundraising.

Not, I hasten to point out, that our vet Saint Beth at Powell Valley Animal Hospital is any slouch in the volunteer and low-cost department. She has done stuff for us that defies job description. Just follow Miss Pogo on Facebook to see some of the care Saint Beth provides.

Or feast your eyes on these photos, snapped Friday when Beth arrived with reinforcements – Kendra and Meghan from the Pretty Nurses Brigade – to give the unspayed girls we have in our garage their rabies shots. (We have nicknamed the garage the Virgin Vault, as Fiona and Salome are sojourning there until their Wednesday departure.)

Jack ASSURED me before he left for Scotland that he had “cleaned out” the garage so it could provide overflow for kittens during the summer tsunami.

When a man says he’s cleaned something out, he seems to mean that he’s removed everything from it that is of no use to him. Nothing about stacking, ordering, putting lids back on, etc.

Fair enough. It’s a marriage thing.

So Beth and her team entered a maze of chairs waiting to be caned, empty boxes waiting for who knows what, paint waiting to have its lids put back on, litter boxes waiting for target practice, and two girl cats hiding somewhere in the midst of it all.

Fortunately, Kelley’s son Asher was on hand. Being about 4’3″ and 65 pounds, plus a natural cat whisperer, he quickly found the cats hiding in their respective corners, explained that nothing bad was going to happen, and soon had them in arms. The ladies took their shots like champs, and I grabbed Beth’s phone and took a few shots, too. Heh heh heh.

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Fiona is spotted under a work bench.IMG_2568

Kendra watches cheerfully as Beth and Fiona assume the respective positions.IMG_2569

Kelley and Meghan watch from an even more distant position.IMG_2572

Note Asher under the table, having a heart to heart with Fiona. She came willingly.

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Beth’s fieldwork technique is to be admired.IMG_2575

Asher offers Fiona reassurance as the jab is quickly accomplished.IMG_2576

And to the victor….IMG_2577Victors, actually. Fiona and Salome head out Wednesday with six other cats, for happy safe lives as pampered pets.

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, humor, Hunger Games, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Alfie Ruminates on Life, Love, and the Joys of Clean Feet

003 adoptables 033 Alfalfa 020 Alfalfa 022Hello there – I’m Alfie. I like having this name. The nice nurses at the hospital gave it to me, and some of them were REALLY cute. But it hides something that’s sad, and a little bit embarrassing. I’m only sharing here because I think it might help people understand something important about shelter cats.

I went to the shelter with a lot of sores on my feet and my tongue. I had what’s called an autoimmune disease, which really means my body was so stressed out, it couldn’t fight off something simple. Like when you get a cold, but you just had an appendectomy, so you get wind up in bed with pneumonia.

So when I showed up at the shelter, well, there’s no nice way to put this: I smelled bad. Like rotten hay. Because the sores on my feet and in my mouth had gotten infected. And those nice nurses, they took one look at me, and they knew what to do, and they fixed me right up. Plus gave me my name: Alfalfa.

Let’s face it, what chance does a cat who smells bad have in a shelter? Zippo, nada, none. That’s why I’m very grateful to the pretty nurses who got me all set with those salves and that shot (which hurt, but given the alternative I don’t mind).

I’m not gonna need any more medicine, because now that I’m not scared and hungry all the time, my body has taken care of the problem. I just needed a chance, y’know? A chance to rest up and not worry about anything and put some weight on. And I want you to know, if you had anything to do with helping me, or any cats with a little bit of damage like me, we’re very grateful. Cats aren’t famous for saying thank you, but when there are so many of us, sometimes people think they should give up on the ones with something wrong. I’m living proof that, if you’re willing to take five minutes to help us fix the problem, we will make it worth your while with a lifetime of love.

Now that I don’t smell bad, people like to hold me, and that’s my favorite thing in the world. I remember what it was like when they backed away with their faces all wrinkled, so I make sure the people know how much I’m loving being cuddled.

Oh yeah, I’m adoptable. I have fur that everybody says is really unusual and pretty – look at it one way and it’s stripes, but from the other way it’s spots. And it’s silver, changeable like mercury. So if you want to adopt me, I’m hanging out at the bookstore with some other cats who got a second chance. We’re none of us babies –  I think Izzy is the youngest, and she’s five months old. Real brat, too, if you ask me – but we’re all great purrsonalities. So come visit the bookstore and while you’re there be sure we get in a cuddle, okay? ‘Cause I wanna say thanks.

 

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA

How to Ask for Kitten Rescue Help

DSCN1013Along with many independent rescuers, Jack and I triage NUMEROUS requests to take in kittens and cats. Over the years we’ve come up with a few observations and suggestions for understanding how rescuers hear and respond to those requests. We hope this helps!

1) Rescuers are focused on the animal. That seems like a no-brainer, right? Yet people often approach individuals or organizations saying they “just can’t handle kittens right now” or “have a lot on my plate.” With cats euthanized daily in shelters and untold others meeting death by coyote-in-the-woods or car-on-the-road, we’re not motivated by your convenience; we’re all about them cats, and we’re stressing ourselves in ways you haven’t even thought of to help them.

baby 22) We wish there were life reward points for being compassionate, but have never found any. It’s kind of sad, we know. You DO have a lot on your plate: college student, single parent, low income, about to move. We totally agree you SHOULD get points for caring enough to inconvenience yourself by not dumping your cat’s kittens at the shelter (because spaying your pet is next on your list as soon as you can afford it) or rescue your neighbor’s neglected kittens, or scoop a cat from an intersection. You took a stray to your garage and she rewarded you by birthing five adorable kittens. Bravo to you for taking her in. Being nice doesn’t bump you to the head of the rescue queue, ALTHOUGH WE THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS FOR CARING.

3) We’re on to your bad cop routine. Acting like a jerk and saying “they’re going to the shelter if you don’t take them” to try and motivate us is a no-no. We’re sifting through garbage dumps and crying at shelters where newborn kittens have a one-day window before they die of disease, never mind euthanasia. If we tell you we can’t take the kittens, calling us uncaring or unfeeling or saying we’re not doing our job right isn’t going to help. You are quite likely the fourth call that day – in May and June, the fourth call that HOUR.Dori

4) Don’t disdain help other than what you asked for. If you care enough to take a cat into your garage, you care enough. If we say we can’t take your kittens but will help you advertise them, get you into a network that will spay Mom cheap, find you some supplies you don’t have to pay for, or otherwise organize logistic or emotional support, don’t go off in a Facebook huff. That’s time well spent by rescuers who know what they’re doing, and it will help.

5) Pay for what you’re asking for. Let me be clear: NOBODY can afford to help all the cats out there, and NOBODY believes he or she has “extra” cash. We’re not expecting you to take food off your family’s table, but giving up lunch out, a pack of smokes, to help an animal in need? Show good faith. Offer a bag of litter or food. TRANSPORT THE CAT to the place where the rescuer can get you help. When the monthly limit we rescuers can afford is hit, our hearts break knowing we have to say no, or default on our mortgage. When a rescuer says, “I can’t,” she means can’t, not won’t.

baby 16) You are appreciated, not special. Your call asking for help with a pet/stray/feral colony is likely her third one that day. We sometimes forget to deal with you as an individual, because the stories fall into patterns. While we shouldn’t do this and try not to, well, it’s inevitable sometimes. You are not alone in doing the right thing, trying to help a needy animal. THANK YOU. BLESS YOU. Good luck, and feel free to ask for advice. We want to help you. We’ll do what we can.

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, small town USA, VA, Wendy Welch

You are Entering… the INDIE BOOKSTORE ZONE

A guest blog from Lyn Ford, Storyteller, who scared everybody out of their wits here on Friday night. It was a magnificent evening!

lynIn October, I often stand in candlelight and pumpkin light, moonlight and dimmed stage light, to tell frightening tales of experiences that never happened (well, most of them didn’t). I speak of love, death, relationships gone bad, strange children, the wrath of the undead—you know, your average, everyday topics of conversation. I am…wait for it…a storyteller.

I share stories in the twilight at the edges of graveyards, in haunted historic sites and moody park gazebos. But my favorite place to haunt is what the first-season monologue for the “Twilight Zone” television series calls “the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition…between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge…the dimension of imagination.” It is a place called…the independent bookstore.

Storytelling programs in independent bookstores hold a timeless, haunting energy, and the people who come to listen are ready for stories. The atmosphere can be greatly enhanced by the presence of a resident cat or two. And when the cat is named Edgar Alan Poe, well, that’s Haunt Heaven, honey.DSCN0999

I can now add to my résumé an evening spent as the guest storytelling spirit at Tales of The Lonesome Pine LLC Use Book Store. If you’re reading this blog, you may already know of the store and its owners, Wendy Welch and her husband/partner in music, story, and love, Jack Beck. But you might not know Edgar, the cat, or be aware of the occasional supper-and-stories events Wendy and Jack produce. At these special occasions, you enjoy good food and a friendly, conversational atmosphere in the café upstairs, after perusing the books and petting the lovely kitties ensconced in the bookstore downstairs.

If you’re in southwest Virginia, plan a visit. If you can’t get to Virginia, visit an independent bookstore in your area. Wandering through an independent book store is one of the best gifts you can offer yourself, especially in the season of “volumes of forgotten lore” (I’m quoting Poe the man, not Edgar the cat).   Creep through the titles among the shelves. Be shocked and amazed at the variety and value you will discover. In the crisp, cool air of October (or any other time of year), relish the warm and generous welcome of the store’s owners–they are truly happy to see you!

You’ll probably enter a different dimension of sight and sound, and stay a lot longer than you’d intended.

Lyn Ford, friedtales2@gmail.com

visit Lyn’s website and see her books Hot Wind, Boiling Rain, Affrilachian Tales, and Beyond the Briar Patch here.

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, reading, small town USA, Wendy Welch, writing, YA fiction