Tag Archives: cute kitten photos

The Washing of Cats is a Difficult Matter

purrito3 So by now everyone knows we’re deeply embroiled in a cat rescue that just set up this week. And the rescue is up and running at a dead run. Construction volunteers have come in from other states, and we’re getting a Purr Box set up for kittens, plus individual little apartments (cages) for cats waiting on adoption or transportation to another rescue. And fielding a lot of requests from irresponsible pet owners and responsible caring people who have picked up strays, and figuring out which is which.

Smartest thing we did as a group was put the two hardnosed people in charge of cat intake. Otherwise we’d be up to 100 cats instead of the 53 we currently have.

So on Monday, a small group was working on constructing a Purr Box – an 8×8 cube suited to holding about a dozen kittens at once – when we got a call from our shelter coordinator. Time was up for three moms with nursing kittens, and three individual kittens. Pull, or else. There was a silence as we all looked around the construction-materials-laden room.purrito

If it had been a movie, the spunky little volunteer with the drill in her hand would have leaped to the top of a carrier and shouted, “We trained for this people! Let’s go!”

Except we never trained for this. We’re learning to run the rescue as we run it. Fortunately we have some excellent help from other rescues and a vet who knows infection control forwards, backwards, and sideways.

So the shelter cats went to our volunteer vet who fecal tested and slapped quarantine tags on some, clear to cage on others. Fellow volunteer Michele and I showed up with 17 moms and kittens to the haven, with instructions to Pyrantel all the moms and flea bathe all the kittens.

club med“Right!” I said to the college educated adults volunteering their time for love of cats. “How many of you have experience bathing kittens?”

People looked at the floor, shuffled their feet, stared into corners. Finally Valerie took off her construction gloves and said, in a small voice, “I gave a puppy a bath once.”

We formed a dubious assembly line: Michele flea combing, Valerie at the utility sink with her husband Alan ferrying cats between. Donald (Michele’s husband) and I held towels, ready to dry.

purrito 1It didn’t go too badly, even though we started with the most feral group. As the kitties went from spitting terror to being bundled into towels and cuddled, they calmed, and a few even decided they liked the experience, snuggling into their dryer’s chests and giving faint, sleepy purrs.purrito valerie

Of course, with 14 kitties to bathe, everyone was soon pressed into service holding a purrito (a kitten wrapped in a blanket or towel or anything we could find as they just kept coming) and people figured out that this was the fun part of the job. Finally, with three cats to go, I looked around and found all the volunteers were sitting on various surfaces, a purrito in the crook of each arm, cooing. Nobody left to wash the last three: Pear, Plum, and little Kiwi – a six inch fluffball of purrsonality.

David and I found paper towels and sacrificed t-shirts to get the fruits finished, and we started caging kittens with moms or in the Purr Box.

“Where’s the other one for this mama?” I asked, as the volunteers reluctantly surrendered their purritos, each trying to be the last one to cage their babies.

purrito AlanThe volunteers looked up. Blinked. Stared. Wordlessly they stood, and began walking about the haven, peering into corners, looking for all the world like wet zombies clutching purring kittens. Finally the errant waif was discovered climbing a cat tree in the Purr Box, all the cages had clean boxes, food, water and toys, and we cleaned up and turned out the lights.

As everyone stood a moment in the darkness, Michele asked, “Should we sing them a lullaby before we go?”

Guinevere wonders WTH we are doing to her kittens.

Guinevere, wondering WTH we are doing to her kittens

We’re figuring it out.

BTW if you want to help us a get a heavy-duty washing machine, you can donate using Paypal via Donald Leech at dl4fh@uvawise.edu. We’re setting up our bank account next week so he’s holding the money meanwhile. And we didn’t have a plan for all those wet towels….



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

The Monday Caption Contest

Ladies and Gentlemen, between doing edits on the book I’m writing,  getting Jack launched to Scotland,  and fostering eleven kittens, I haven’t had time to read this week. I don’t have a Monday book.

But I did have time to snap this priceless photo of Uncle Bert with one of his foster kitties. The winning caption will receive hand-crocheted dishcloths. Have fun!

kitten sitting on Bert 004This contest is on the Appalachian Feline Friends page, on Facebook. If you can’t post there, post here and I’ll copy your caption onto FB so audience response can determine the winner.


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

The Naming of Cats is a Difficult Matter…….

For your pleasure and edification, this weekend’s blog is word for word an online conversation between Our Good Chef Kelley, Saint Beth the Vet, and me. Here’s the background: Our Good Chef Kelley likes to name some of the foster cats, and we told her next time they came around, she could do so. After being foster-free for 12 hours, we agreed to take in kittens from three different rescuers – a momma and three babies from the shelter immediately, and two sets of three feral kittens from two rescuers trying to trap them, as and when they managed to. Plus one male cat from a lady who was getting drop-offs at her house and couldn’t afford to neuter him amongst all her girl cat pets (not spayed). All of them were to go to Dr. Beth before coming here, to get checked out.

You can guess what happened, can’t you? No sooner had the shelter cats arrived than the feral trappers informed me they’d caught the kitties and the lady with the drop off dropped him off. Beth went from 0 to 9 Bookstore cats in the space of an hour. We can pick up the thread from there as Beth tries to talk Kelley through the naming process.

  • Beth (2:38 pm): We have a Female torrid and Black male Grey who thinks he is badass

     That is tortie not torrid
     and an orange long hair male

    Then we have the sickly ones. Grey female Orange make and tortie female

    All need names

    And the little sick runt Erin has, that Wendy took this afternoon.

    Kelley (2:42 pm): Mom = Berenice Dilute tortie = Morella Orange male = Prospero Gray tabby = Montressor

    It is Edgar Allan Poe time smile emoticon

    I don’t wanna name the sick one till I know he is gonna make it

     Beth (2:43 pm): That’s the one I’m not sure of sex either

     baby 2

    Kelley (2:45 pm): Wait hang on. There is a black male too?

    Beth (2:45 pm): Yes

    Kelley (2:45 pm): So mama and five kittens?

    Beth : 6

    Kelley (2:46 pm): One mama, six kittens?

    Beth (2:46 pm): Plus the sick one

    Kelley (2:46 pm): So plus the sick one, 1 mama and seven babies?

    Beth (2:46 pm): Yes

     And orange boy

    baby 1Kelley (2;54): 1. Mom 2. Black male 3. Orange male 4. Dilute tortie 5. Gray male tabby 6. Gray male? tabby with Erin 7. ? 8. ?

  • Beth (2;55 pm): Another tortie kitten and adult male orange and grey male solid

Kelley (2:55 pm): Ok so all of these do not belong to the mama?

  • Beth (2:56 pm) : Nope

    Kelley (3:10 pm) : I’m so confused. Sorry. Are there 9 total?

    Beth (3:11 pm) : Yes if u count Erin’s

    I’m not helping. I’m brain dead

    Kelley (3:12 pm) : Ok gotcha

    Is OK Wendy didn’t tell me about all of the others

    Mom = Berenice Dilute tortie = Morella Orange male = Prospero Gray tabby = Montressor Black male = Pluto Tortie 2 = Annabel

    Who am I missing?

    Other than the sick one. I am missing 2

    Beth (3:15 pm) : Adult orange male and kitten orange male

     So which one is prospero

    Kelley (3:16 pm) : Is there a sickly orange kitten and a well orange kitten?

    Beth (3:17 pm) : Sick orange and healthy adult

    And grey bad assbaby 3

  • Kelley (3:34 pm):

    Confused again. I named an orange kitten Prospero. Is there another orange kitten or just an adult orange?

    Beth (3:35 pm): Adult

    Kelley (3:36 pm) : Healthy adult orange = Luchesi (loo-kasey)

    Ok so that is everyone but badass gray?

    Is the solid gray male the badass?

    Beth (3:37 pm) : He certainly thinks so

    Kelley (3:38 pm): The only one I haven’t named is the solid gray

    Let’s call the badass Montressor and the tabby boy can be Valdemar

    And that should be everyone except sick baby. Right?

    Wendy (3:40 pm): Y’all are so cute

    Kelley (3:40 pm) : Ok cool. ROFL. Wendy I didn’t know there were so many! Hehehe

  • Wendy (3:41 pm): Neither does Jack.

    They’re coming in groups of 3

    The rest are hanging with Auntie Beth awhile

     He’ll never know how many there are if they come in clumps.
    So now you know, gentle readers: neither the life nor the online presence of a rescuer is ever dull.
    baby 4


Filed under animal rescue, bad writing, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, humor, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, shopsitting, small town USA, VA, Wendy Welch

Oliver Speaks his Mind

oliver chillin Yo, girls; I’m Oliver. I’m hangin’ at the bookstore until my adoption comes through. Been a little longer than I expected, what with me bein’ so adorable an’ all. I mean, look at me. I’m cuter than barley sugar and twice as sweet.

Well, sweet, I mean, I’m a tough guy but I’ve got a tender side too, y’know? I’m not afraid to let my feelings show. Like, I love breakfast. Every morning we have wet breakfast here. The rest of the day we get your basic dry hard crap, but for breakfast we get Friskies shreds. Oh maaaaaan, them things’re good. I never hesitate to declare my love for them. I stand in the middle of the dish an’ paw the stuff. There might be some squealin’ involved.

‘Cause I grew up in a rough neighborhood, y’know? The street right outside the bookstore, that’s where some lady found me an’ took me to their door. It was nice of ’em to take me in, y’know, ’cause I was kinda little then. Six weeks old, too young to be on my own. So I got used to scrappin’ for scraps. Here, I don’t have to; always plenty. Plus I can nap anywhere, anytime. That’s great, man! oliver

Now that I can have all the food I want, my fur looks great. I’m a tuxedo dude. Even though I like to run an’ play, I keep my feet bright white. I have great whiskers, so I keep ’em clean an’ shiny too. Fact is, I’m drop dead gorgeous. All you have to do is look at me to see that.

But hey, I’ve got an erudite side, too. I ain’t your basic street tough, y’know, after spendin’ a month in a bookstore. I used erudite correctly in a sentence, didn’t I? Yeah, ya pick up things, livin’ in a bookstore, if ya keep your ears clean an’ open. I do my ears every day.

DSCN0704Oh yeah, there’s a couple of other cats here, too. Fun to play with, nice guys. Gonna miss me when I’m gone. I’m way cuter than them so I’ll get adopted first. Chicks can’t resist a guy in a tuxedo.

C’mon down an’ visit. I’m healthy, an’ ready for a good time, if you know what I mean. Let’s get Friskies! Mrrrrrow.


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

Ruth Thinks Certain Things would be REALLY NICE

DSCN0446Hey y’all, I’m Ruth. Yes, I’m a girl. Yes, I’m an orange tabby. Yes, I’m unusual.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, lemme tell you, we’ve got an unusual life here. It all started when we were born, see. My two brothers and I got taken to a place called a “shelter” when we were three days old. I don’t remember that part, or the part about Mom not coming with us. The first thing I remember is this lady bottle feeding us, and then we slept, and then we got more bottle. Which was very nice, and then the stuff in the bottle was in this big plate on the floor and it had this delicious stuff mixed in, called “solid food.” That was REALLY nice!

DSCN0459And then one day she put us all in this box and we went in a car and we got out at this place FULL of books. And other kittens. And the two ladies talked, and we stayed at the book house. Which was also nice, because she had the same food for us, plus there were other kittens there to play with. We all swapped stories – none of them had moms either. Some of the stories were kinda sad, but then the place where we were was nice: clean, bright, all the food we wanted, plenty of toys, and people kept coming in and cuddling us and saying things like we were adorable, and cute, and brave, and all that. That was REALLY REALLY nice!

Then one day the second lady, the one from here, she came in and sat us all down and explained that we didn’t live there forever, that one day we’d get in a car again, but maybe just one or two at a time, and go live someplace else, and THAT would be our forever homes. We all looked at each other; we like playing together! But then, you know, a forever home. That would be REALLY REALLY REALLY nice. So I guess that’s okay.DSCN0476

You should come visit us. THAT would be REALLY REALLY REALLY nice too! We love to snuggle.


Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management

K.U.T.E (Kittens United Terrorizing Everyone)


Scarlett, Ready to Address her Subjects

Shopsitter Jenny here. I may not have much time, so listen closely. I’ve been taken hostage by a group known only to me as K.U.T.E. I don’t know exactly what they want, but I seem to be completely in their thrall. I’ve been given the tasks of meal preparation, litter box clean up, and cuddling. The strange part is, I don’t mind at all. I’m HAPPY to do it. The hold they have over me is almost…supernatural. All one of them has to do is wave a tiny paw, or sneeze a mini achoo, and I’m ready to do their bidding. I would have written for help sooner, but the one they call Scarlett was sitting on the computer all morning looking at me with big dewy eyes. I was powerless to move her. Fortunately, they seem to nap en masse, so I am now able to send out my plea. Come. Get. A. Kitten. Save me from the overwhelming power of K.U.T.E. I fear that one (or more!) of them will convince me to bring them home to New York, and then, not only will K.U.T.E have the opportunity to spread its devastating culture of kitten kisses, but my mother will kill me!

A quick run down of the players…

Scarlett. Sister to Rhett. Cuteness exceeds tolerable levels with this one. Seems to be a bit of a ringleader.

Rhett. Scarlett’s brother. Rhett’s metaphorical tee-shirt reads, I’d Rather be Lounging.

Henry Dashwood. Dash for short. Exceptionally handsome chap. A little shy, but snuggly and playful when he warms up. Adorable kitten antics, or up to something? You decide.

Hadley. Little, but mighty, with a deceptively sweet face…Oh geez! Here she comes! She’s climbing up my pant leg! SHE’S GOING FOR MY NECK!

She’s…kissing my cheek.

What’s that you say Hadley? You want your prawns peeled and served with caviar? Why certainly. Let me take care of that for you.



Filed under animal rescue, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, shopsitting, Uncategorized

Hi! I’m Prince Caspian!

DSCN1247Hi! I’m Prince Caspian! I’m a very brave explorer and a good shoulder sailor. I love to find small spaces to hide in and then jump out at people’s feet. And I love, love, love to cuddle.

I’m just here at the bookstore until I get my forever home. The bookstore is fun for now, though. Lotsa tall places to climb up and jump on people’s shoulders from. The other day I did a perfect four-paw landing on the back of one of the ladies who works here, as she was stooped over shelving some books.

DSCN1214Was it my fault she screamed like that? Honestly, it was kinda fun though, flying through the air. It didn’t hurt cause I landed on a soft chair. Just kinda bounced a little. But to hear her tell it, she thought the devil had her.

I’m just a little kitten, lady, no big deal!

Really I’m kinda sweet and innocent. Except I’m gonna be a pirate when I grow up. But don’t tell the people in the bookshop, ’cause they said I’m named for a character in a Christian children’s book.

People say I’m cute, but what they don’t know is what a very brave cat I am.They used to call me Small Fry, but I didn’t like that very much because it reminded me of the scary time I spent in that garbage can. There wasn’t anything to eat in there but cold french fries and it was so hot and hard to breathe. I knew I had to get out so I was very brave and cried and cried for help, and a nice lady heard me and got me out.

I’m trying not to hold a grudge against the guy who put me in there. He said I’d find some stuff to eat and it wouldn’t be his problem. Buddy, you need to rethink how you’re living your life. That’s all I’m saying.

DSCN1226Who needs a grudge when I’ve got all these nice people around me? First I went to the animal hospital and I stayed there a whole two weeks because I was so small and you could see my ribs – well, cold fries just aren’t much to eat, are they? And I had coccidea, which is a kitten disease that’s easy to take care of if you get the right nutrition. (Again, with the cold fries….)

Everybody loved me at the hospital and carried me around on their shoulders and let me ride on their shoes. And then I came to the bookstore, and everybody here loves me too. I’m a really lovable guy. And I get all I want to eat here! This place is great.

Mom says soon somebody will take me to another place and that will be my forever home, and I’ll get all I want to eat and have lots of laps and shoulders and chairs and shelves. I’m looking forward to it.

‘Scuse me, I see somebody coming and I don’t want them to know I’m using the computer. Come see me! Ask for Prince Caspian! Bye!




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