Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Barn Cleaning

The barn door slowly creaked open on a warm and sunny November day. I peered inside, squinting my
eyes against the darkness. Beams of light pierced through the darkness amongst the rafters. It was the
first barn I’d ever been in, and it was filled with over 70 cats.

As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I noticed an object in the corner.“Oh wow,” I exclaimed, “It’s a hay

“Hay bale,” Greg the senior volunteer corrected. “We need to winterize the barn for the cats with this.”

Sarah came in at that point, looking as stunningly authoritative and confident as ever. “You have to
make little beds for the cats,” she explained. “Make sure you compress the hay enough so that the cat
has plenty of insulation.”

At this point the feral cats which made the barn their home began to emerge from the shadows of
the barn. Black cats, fluffy cats, orange cats, all peering out at us curiously. I attempted to engage in a
staring contest with one, but Greg advised against it: “Some cats take it very seriously.”

The other volunteers were moving hay into hiding spots for the cats as Greg and I secured litter boxes
full of hay into the wall with a power drill. The cats began to appear more and more as the volunteers
started to fill their food dishes. Although the barn appeared completely empty when we’d first arrived,
the number of cats congregating around the food displayed how truly adept they are at hiding.

Either way, it was pretty impressive.

We took shelving units we built earlier and stacked them on top of each other, providing little cat trees
for them to climb on during the winter months. The room we were in had a heating system which would
provide a warm haven during the chilly Michigan winter months.

We secured the homes for the kitties, proud of what we accomplished.

“Hey,” I told Greg, “Is it okay if I run through the corn field?”

“Sure,” he replied amicably.

Stepping out of the big barn in the autumn sunshine, I ran over to the fields, recently plowed. Inky
Tinkerton, the resident manx cat, ran alongside me to play in the unseasonably warm weather. It had
been another great experience of volunteering at the Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue, and I couldn’t have

asked for any better way to embrace the warm fall day.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

MSU students take over the cat house

On Sat., Oct. 20, thirty-three MSU students from the Pre-Vet Association descended on “the cat house” to help whip it into shape for the impending winter, and to play with the kitties.  They broke into many different work groups under the direction of regular volunteers and handled the cleaning and re-packing of the garage (despite many spider attacks), scrubbing the basement, quarantine, the kitten room, the office, the kitchen, the back yard, and the weed garden.
Just a few hours of individual volunteer time (they were here a total of three hours), and together, great things were accomplished for the kitties and their temporary home.

Heidi Vanden Berg

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sarah and CC kissing in the Tree

 Imagine the scene, we have just arrived at the Detroit Zoo after driving an hour and a half (after starting out late, of course!), unloaded all the cats & are lining them up putting them in their cages. It is general madness to get ready, people everywhere, rescues scrambling  around because they are way less organized than we are, dogs are barking incessantly or "walking" out of control on leashes. While several volunteers are placing cats in their cages, C.C freaks & bolts! NOT into his open cage like a good kitty but to the ground, under the table! Of course alarm bells among us go off! Someone hollers "C.C's loose!" I look around, he slinks past me low to the ground, I get my hands on him, JUST barely able to scruff him as he slithers through my hands and HE IS OFF!! Through our tent and the next! People from other rescues are trying to help corner him, others stand around dumfounded as if to say "Is that a loose cat?" He runs into the fence, through the pine trees, around the bend into another tent with Sarah in hot pursuit.  Now, he is in a DEAD RUN....  for the open patch of grass that only has wrought iron fencing, just wide enough for a thoroughly freaked out, formerly semi-feral cat to squeeze thru!!! and on the other side is 4 lanes of traffic & the "on" ramp leading to I-696. Luckily, he hesitates for a split second and thinks "Maybe the tree will be safer than the highway"...up he goes, and goes and goes until about 25 feet up & there is no more place to go! Now he is perched and poised to launch himself OVER the fence into traffic if he panics! Sarah is talking to him calmly from the ground, working hard at calming him and demanding his attention so he does not think about launching down and into the highway, she directs me to get a catch pole from SOMEWHERE, NOW and HURRY and Caitlin to get on the other side of the fence!!! So I am FRANTICALLY asking EVERY rescue "Do you have a catch pole?" Everyone says "No". I know she is thinking about the cat Max who was lost in the woods when she was 9 months pregnant with Shawn, he got out, ran to the woods and was GONE! (This is why the name "Max" is banned as to not remind her of the one furry baby she felt so bad about loosing even after she searched for hrs for him bare foot and pregnant in the woods) FINALLY, the Patron Saint of Rescued animals produces a catch pole from Oakland Co. animal control!! About 15 people are standing around watching, Sarah starts to climb the tree from behind C.C, hoping he will not launch himself over the fence as she approaches, Caitlyn is on the OTHER side of the fence talking to C.C hoping to distract him enough by just "being" where he would hope to land. Sarah has already said "If he jumps & you can't catch him DO NOT chase him into the road, we can't have volunteers hit by a car." (We all know what that means, he will be lost forever) By now Sarah has discovered she is not climbing an ordinary-looking crab apple tree but some native Michigan pricker tree with 2-3 inch pricker spikes coming out of the bark on every limb! She attempts to pole him 3-4 times but can't quite reach, she must go up another 4-5 feet, into the area where the branches are just slim enough to wonder if it will support adult weight. 3-4 more attempts of trying to slide the catch pole noose over C.C's neck WITHOUT catching the inconveniently placed branch he is holding onto in the noose as well and NOT holding on herself! FINALLY, she snags him, he struggles a bit then goes limp! She inches him down to her and snuggles him like she does ALL the babies-he is safe, she can breath, 15 feet up in the tree, with the catch pole still attached.  She hands him down and we get him safely in a covered carrier and Sarah climbs out of the tree!  No one is hurt......
  We place C.C under a table, in time out for the entire day!! Sarah is calm & collected, we continue to get our area ready for adoptions, thanks to Amy, Joann, Beth, her husband & exchange student, Bud, Mike & Greg we are already ready to roll. Not a thing was amiss in the MMCR area & we went on to adopt out 9 kitties to forever homes! Unfortunately, my camera was not available nor would I have thought to grab it while searching for the catch pole-A picture would have been worth a 1000 words for sure!
 And THIS would be the reason WHY you should sign up to help at this never know when Sarah might do ONE MORE THING, just a little bit (more) outside of crazy all in the name of LOVE for our babies!!
Kimberly Allman-Griggs