Monday, 30 April 2012

From Midnight to Maverick!

In case you can't make out where My Midnight Man is standing, he is in a box; the box used to ship a bicycle, more specifically His bicycle.  He rode the bike from London, England to Geneva, Switzerland in June 2009.  He did a sponsored ride to raise money for Crisis--a charity that helps homeless people reclaim their lives.

My Midnight Man left the bike in Switzerland with the group who hosted the ride, Discover Adventure. They boxed up all the participant's bikes and returned the bikes home. So here he is re-assembling his bike.  

My Midnight Man's best friend, "Jon-David", was a great encouragement to My Midnight Man.  

"Jon-David & John the day John left for Geneva"
Due to a work accident, My Midnight Man was seperated from his beloved "Trusty Steed"--"TS" (aka bike!) for over three years.  But that seperation did nothing to dampen his passion for bicycling.  

There were times of frustration during the last three years--My Midnight Man battling pain, boredom, lack of finances and fitness.  But having successfully completed the London to Geneva ride, it put a desire into his heart and mind to do another ride. 

After a long healing time and lots of prayer, My Midnight Man is now pain free and back on his bike.  Yippee! I believe MMM's passionate desire to take action to help others was instrumental in his experiencing God's healing touch.  

The new goal for MMM is to ride from John O'Groats, Scotland to Land's End in England, across Southern England, through London, cross the English Channel, on to Paris, over to Geneva, Switzerland, then further south to Nice, France.  The plan is to ride the trip over a five-week period in the Summer of 2013. That's approximately 2,200 miles or 3,520 kilometres.    

For those who have participated in fund-raising athletics, it is customary to ride with a team or with an organisation that arranges the logistics, like Discover Adventure.  The problem with these groups is that often part of the money required by the organisation is directed toward lodging, petrol for support vehicles and food.  Therefore, not all of the money goes toward charity.  

MMM wants all the sponsorship money he raises to go to the charities he is now focusing on, The A21 Campaign. and ECPAT UK  Both of these organisations work to raise awareness of human trafficing and the eventual abolishment of modern day slavery and the abuse of children caused by child prostitution and pornography.  

My Amazing Husband is hoping to recruit friends to ride with him for different parts of the trip.  He also wants to do the trip independently of fund-raising groups.  And MMM is prepared to ride by himself, if he must.  He will have to cover all his expenses--for bed and breakfasts, any repairs he needs to make enroute, food and communication.  

"Jon-David" was discussing MMM's aspirations to ride such a long way, charting his trip on the map and taking on all the logistics.  The next thing "Jon-David" says is, "Man, you are a Maverick!"  MMM laughed till he was breathless.

Keeping in mind that a Maverick is an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party, those who know MMM will agree that this is an apt desciption!  !-)

Now, My Midnight Man is being called, The Maverick Cyclist.  So, from now I will be calling my independent, unorthodox thinking husband, "The Maverick."  I hope I won't confuse too many people.  

I will keep you posted of The Maverick's progress; and notify eveyone when he gets his own blog and fund-raising page set up.  

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
"Lady Helene"

Saturday, 28 April 2012

So, okay, yes I've been home for eleven days and all the cat photos should have been done before I left Florida.  Suffice it to say, I didn't accomplish that.  I truly meant to post the last photo of the cats right after I got home.  I was too busy resting/sleeping to recover from jetlag to do it.  Enough of the excuses and explainations.  

If you're thinking this cat looks familiar, it's because Jeb-Lee looks like his sister, Sethra.  He is larger than Sethra, weighing about eight pounds.  

Sethra in back, Jeb-Lee in front
He is very affectionate.  One night I was sleeping on the recliner couch.  He jumped up and nestled down between my ankles.  A couple of times I felt his claws prick the bottom of my feet.  I could only surmise that my snoring got too loud and he was protesting! 

If you remeber the photos of his sister, you realise that they are ginger tabbies.  They like to play together.  They often curl up near each other and snooze as well.  

Yes, I miss these entertaining little critters.  I even dreamed that I'd brought Sethra home with me and begged My Midnight Man to keep her.  Funny how the mind works.  

That's the last of the cat photos! more cute one of Sethra....

 Yes, this is Sethra in a bowl.  Sissy was sorting through boxes from storage to see of what she could get rid.  This bowl was one of my Great-grandmother's.  It was cracked across the bottom, rendering it unsaleable and almost unusable, in case it leaked.  Sissy had left the bowl on the desk, with other items for donations to local charity shops.  To our amusement, we watched as Sethra stepped into the bowl and proceeded to curl up.  From then on, it was Sethra's bowl.  No disposing of it now!  

I guess I shall have to find my moments of un-expected cuteness from other places!  

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
"Lady Helene"

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Home, home, wonderful home...

Delighted and relieved are two words that accurately express my feelings about the long journey home being over.  One-hundred years ago making a journey of over 6,000 in a 24-hour period would not have been thought possible.  Now we do it.  The flight between Tampa and Newark, New Jersey was about two-and-a-half hours.  The lay-over in Newark was close to 10 hours, followed by the six hour flight from Newark to London, Heathrow.  Both flights went easily enough--just a little turbulance on the Tampa-Newark flight.  

Monday evening (the 16th) I drove down to one of Bradenton's local Publix stores to make use of their scales to weigh my lugguage.  I had to make sure both suit cases were under 50 pounds (70 kgs).   They were under the limit, so I opted to leave them locked in the boot (trunk) of the car overnight.  

I knew it was going to be a long day--getting up at 3:00 a.m. to shower before leaving for the airport. Sissy and I ate donuts during the drive to Tampa and purposed not to cry, though it was a challenge.  I was really glad for that first cup of coffee on the flight--as we drank water in the car.  

I'd been able to pack my laptop in its case into a large piece of luggage, leaving only the carry-on suitcase to worry with for the day.  

I always like to check the websites for the amount of luggage we are allowed, and the weight limit.  I checked the United Airlines website three times, trying to find out if I had to pay for the second bag.  I thought I could take two bags.  Imagine my shock when the customer service agent told me that the second bag was going to cost me $70.(£44) to check through.  Immediately I was in tears.  The Customer Service Agent was very understanding, telling me that the website was vague, unclear.  So she checked it through for me, without a fee.  To me that was a miracle.  

The flight left Tampa at 6:00 am and arrived in Newark about 8:40 am.  My flight to London didn't leave until 6:25 pm (18:25 hrs).  So what does one do for 9 hours and 45 minutes in an Airport? I didn't have the energy or the finanacial resources to venture into Newark or New York.  Knowing I had to spend the whole day, I packed a journal, a couple of notebooks, some index cards, a knitting project, a magazine and a book.  I mentally purposed to spend some of the time actually writing.  

On Monday, the day before my flight on Tuesday (17th April), as I was double checking my itinerary, I also looked at Newark Airport's map online.  That way I knew where restaurants, food courts, toilets and shops were.  I wanted to know where the best options were for sitting and drinking tea or coffee.

Dunkin Donuts was my first port of call.  Yes, more donuts--but it was four hours since eating in the car and there are no Dunkin Donuts in England.  Dunkin Donuts like to boast about their coffee--but I found it a bit on the weak side.  I guess they don't use arabica coffee or Columbian beans!  

I did walk around for an hour, looking for a quiet-ish place to sit and write.  Caliente Cab Restaurant is next to the food court in terminal C. I explained to the waiter that I had about six hours to fill before my flight left.  Would he mind if I ordered a drink and then in a couple of hours order food.  I'm sure they see this a lot- as he approved this plan quickly.  So out came my journal, a pen, my MP3 player and my travel alarm clock.  

I spent time writing an overview of my time in Florida and some of my feelings.  After a glass of ice tea, I was ready to move on to another project.  

Donna Fletcher Crow was kind enough to answer an e-mail I wrote to her about her book-writing process.  She advised me that she does a detailed outline of the book, creating chapters along with notes of detail of the surroundings.  So, I decided to work on a book outline.  I did find that I was missing some important information, but I did make progress on what I felt should be in the book.  

Eventually I packed-up the  temporary work-station and walked across the food court and concourse to the gate. I was so tired I laid down on the floor next the window area and dozed for about an hour.  I couldn't sleep deeply, because I just wasn't comfortable enough.  But I was tired enough to zone out for a while.  

From the windows in the terminal, I could see the outline of New York.  I took some photos, but it was difficult without a extra-long tele-photo lense.  

There were several children on the flight.  I thought sure it was going to be an arduous affair, if the babies and children fussed the whole six hours.  Thankfully, once we were underway most of the children settled down and slept.  One baby did have a two-hour crying fit.  However, I had my earphones in, watching movies, which means I was barely aware of the angry crying of the infant.  I said a prayer for the mother and the baby.
That's one thing about flying I do enjoy--the movies.  John and I never go out the the cinema.  So getting to see a contempory film is a delight.  I watched War Horse and We Bought a Zoo

In a way, it was difficult to pick which film I wanted to watch, as the new Sherlock Holms movie and Iron Lady about Margaret Thatcher were also options.  

There's been lots of advertisements of War Horse, so I'll not elaborate on that.  

Whilst still with my sister, I saw advertisements for We Bought a Zoo.  I thought, "That looks kind of good.  Maybe I'll buy the DVD sometime."  When I saw it was an option on the film menu, I thought--"Good, I'll watch this film".  The film is about Benjamin Mee, a former journalist who finds himself floundering after the death of his wife.  In order to find a way to connect with his children and have a new start, he buys a zoo. 

Now here's the kicker--all the actors are American.  I thought the film was about a place in California, as it was filmed there.  NO!  The actual Zoo is in Plymouth, Devon, England!!!  Ironically, I nearly bought the book last autumn.  I may still go buy it.  

For more information about the true Benjamin Mee and the zoo, check out the website: 

I'd requested a wheel chair for transport through the airport beause I knew that walking from the plane through customs to arrivals was further that I could handle comfortabley.  I guess because I was wheeled through in a wheel-chair, I made it through customs more quickly than My Midnight Man expected.  It took us twenty-minutes to connect.  But it was wonderful to see his smiling face and to make it home.  

I've been trying to catch up on my rest and recover from my jet lag.  I did make it back to the office for work on Friday Morning.  It felt good to be on-sight to do the news sheet.  

To make coming home even better, My Midnight Man received confirmation on Friday that BA is hiring him for a seven-month contract.  

Friday afternoon our oldest daughter, "Chantilly" and her family came by for a visit.  To be on the receiving end of so much love is truly God's blessing to me.

Today was my first day back at St. Mary's Church of England.  To be back in the fold was heartwarming and comforting.  

Now that I'm back home, I must get out my social calendar and start inviting people over.  

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
"Lady Helene" 

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Things I've been reading...and other kitties...

When I first arrived here in Florida, I knew that I wouldn't have access to television, as my sister couldn't afford cable.  The condominium community she lives in was purchased by a new owner, who connected cable for all the flats/apartments; of course raising the rent as well.  For the first half of my visit the primary mode of entertainment was trips to the library.

The great thing about being in the USA is having access to some of my favourite American authors that I can't access in the public library systems in England.  Manatee County library offers on-line service; reserving desired books, renewing checked out books and a search service to look for information on all kinds of topics. 

In 2007 I discovered the authoress, Diane Mott Davidson.  If you like mysteries and cooking, then her books are for you.  The heroine is Goldie Korman Schultz--a caterer who gets involved with solving murders.  All of her books include many of the recipes for dishes served at events she caters.  I started reading her series last time I was here.  I was full of anticipation to finish the series while I was here this time--since I knew I'd be here three months.  For readers in America, these should be available through the local library.  For my UK friends, you can find them for purchase on 

Another authoress I discovered is Karen Kingsbury--  She is a prolific Christian author.  She has written several series.  I've read her Baxter Family series--called The Redemption Series; (Redemption, Remember, Return, Rejoice & Reunion).  I've also read three of the four books in the Above The Line Series; (Take One, Take Two and Take Three).  She has written several stand alone books, of which I've read: Oceans Apart.  Karen's characters are met with real life challenges--some who have been taught Christian principles, but get tempted by things in the world.  But there are other characters have strong, solid faith and use it to see miracles. 

A real treasure was the first book in the Mitford Series, entitled At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon.  The hero/main character is Father Tim, an Episcopal Priest.  Ms. Karon writes the way I wish I could--expressing Christian faith in a very believable way; it doesn't feel contrived or preachy.  There is romance, humour, compassion and kindness.  I've read the first two in the series: At Home in Mitford and A Light in the Window.  I have a goal to buy this set of books.  Once again, these books should be available through the public library system as well as Amazon.

In 1994 I attended a three-month School of Writing in University of the Nations.  One of the teachers was Donna Fletcher Crow.  I was able to find a few of her many books in the library.  She is a diligent reseacher and her work reflects this.  I follow Donna Fletcher Crow on Facebook and also read her blog.  I've read two of her epic novels:  Glastonbury, A Novel of Christian England and The Fields of Bannockburn. 

If you're looking to buy books by any of these authors, (or any Christian publications), a great place to check out is  I've used this company for years and they ship internationally.  It is well worth checking out this website. 

About half-way through my visit the cable was hooked up and I've spent more than a few hours watching tv.  Sissy is delighted she can watch Cubs baseball and American Idol.  I've never watched Pop Idol or the X Factor in the UK.  I am guilty of watching Britian's Got Talent.  I've really enjoyed watching Cold Case Files and Criminal Minds. 

I did bring some knitting, but haven't worked on it much. 

CC--on the dresser

Miss Kitty--a tiny little lady
On the left is CC.  He originally showed up behind my sister's apartment/flat with a flee collar on.  He disappeared for about three days, then disappeared again.  From his behaviour, we think CC was previously owned.  He is very affectionate and usually laid back. He doesn't object to having his tummy rubbed and REALLY loves his food.  

Miss Kitty is on the right.  She must weigh about six pounds.  Miss Kitty's favourite place to begin with was under the bed.  Now she is more comfortable around people and the other cats.  She is still shy, though.  Her fur is very soft.  Usually she will disappear when I come into the room.  Miss Kitty is a real sweetheart.   
Blue Boy

Next is Blue.  He is totally grey with a blue sheen to his fur.  He has the most amazing amber eyes.  Blue is chatting at night, calling out to his furry friends.  He loves sitting in the window ledges and look outside.  I think he misses being an outside cat.  He was very shy and skittish at first, but is getting more comfortable.  Sissy can pick him up and he is comfortable with her.  I've been able to pet him and he responds well to his name.   

Brendal--another little girl with a big attitude

The beatiful brindled (having obscure dark streaks or flecks on a usually gray or tawny ground) coloured cat is named Brendal.  She is a little cat with a boulder on her shoulder.  But she has had a very difficult, short life.  By the time she was a year-and-a-half old,she had had three litters of kittens.  She love her food and is known to go after anyone who is in her territory--or what she perceives to be her territory (the kitchen and laundry room.).  She is slowly responding to human kindness and will accept affection.  She has a long way to go, but she has great potential. 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

There's a security street light that fills our night-time rooms with amber light, leaving no need for a night-lights.  Macular Degeneration has made Mom legally blind, and we never know exactly how much she sees.  It might be a shadow or colour--like telling me she likes my yellow tee shirt.  At night, a little light makes Mom feel more secure.  But with this street light about eight feet from our windows, there is no need for individual night lights in the room.

It had gone midnight (to this morning), and I was surprised that Mom was still awake.  But sometimes the prescription pain medication she takes will keep her awake and stimulated. 

I share her queen-sized bed and had just gotten comfortable, my own eyes closed. 

After a few seconds Mom says:  "Did you see that?"

"See what?" I ask, opening my eyes and look toward the door.  I'm thinking that she might be seeing one of the cats, as they take turns lying in the doorway.  But there was no cat there.

"That, over by the door."  She says, continuing to look.

"No, I don't see anything.  What did you see?"

"It looked like someone was standing there."

"Can you tell me what he looked like?"  I don't know why I said "he".  But I knew my sister was in bed. 

"No, not really--he had his back to me."  She explained.

I do believe in supernatural beings--angels and devils.  A few nights ago I walked into Mom's room and she had been scared.  My sister has often wondered if there was something about Mom's room that causes her to get agitated.  So, I did what any well taught, Born Again, Holy Spirit filled person would do--I prayed out loud.  I told God's Holy Protective Angels to stay and told Satan's dark angels to flee.  I prayed that the blood of Jesus would cover and protect us. 

After that, we both settled down and went to sleep. 

Sethra Rose
 This is Sethra Rose.  She is a small cat, and weighs about six pounds/15 kgs. 

Sissy brought her in last October because she was quite ill.  Originally, Sissy thought the kitten was a male kitten and named "him" Seth.  When Sissy took "Seth" to the vet because "he" was suffering from dehydration, a sever cold and infection, the vet told Sissy that "Seth" was actually a female--so "Seth" became "Sethra" 

She is so fiesty and would put her little paws under the bathroom door where she was quarentined from the other cats.  Hannah was very curious about these little paws, and they often played "pawsies." 

After about three weeks, Sissy finally let Sethra out into the flat/apartment.  She and Hannah became tight buddies.  You just never know what this cat is going to do next!  She actually bounces off the wall.  Think "Tigger" in "Winnie the Pooh"!

This is Sethra under the fake fiscus tree.   

I wish I had my camera with me all the time, because the cats are always doing something cute or funny. 

Yes, I have more photos to post. 

I hope some of them will bring a smile to your face.

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,

"Lady Helene"

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


Sunday was Easter.  I missed being home at St. Mary's Church of England, Langley, to celebrate the annual remembrance of Jesus's Resurrection from the dead and our salvation.  I didn't attend church here.  The richness of worship is minimized when I can't share it with people with whom I am in relationship. 

I got sunburned on Sunday.  No, I wasn't at the beach.  Nor was at at the swimming pool.  I was standing at the end of the breeze-way, cutting my sister's hair.  It took us about an hour and the end result was like a sheep who has been shorn of a full winter's coat in the spring.  There was a beautiful breeze to make us comfortable.    The sunburn doesn't hurt, for which I am thankful.  Equally, I can't complain, as being just ten days away from finishing my three month visit, this is my first "red-neck" experience.  

Today's Mom-ism 

Every morning we have to give Mom about 10 or 11 pills/tablets.  Some of these are supplements, such as cranberry concentrate, vitamin C, etc; others are her prescribed medication for under-active thyroid and high blood pressure.  We will give them to here two or three at a time and usually let her know how many she has left. 

This morning I'd already given her two lots of three tablets when she took a break.  
"Mom, don't drink all your chocolate milk.  You still have pills to take."
Mom shook her head and took another drink.  I'm thinking to myself I'll have to go get her bottle of water if she uses all her chocolate drink.  

"Are you ready for the next ones?  I have three in this hand, and two in my other hand."

Mom looks a bit confused, shaking her head.  Then she says:

"Mommy, how many more meals do I have to eat before I'm done?"

"Five--are you ready for these three."  

Mom shruggs and opens her mouth.  In the mean-time I smile; despite the description of the pills being inaccurate, her question does have an odd, yet recognisable logic to it.  

I did have to go get the bottel of water for her to finish the job.  But at least there was no argument today as to why she has to take so many pills.  And for that I am thankful.

 This beautiful creature is Bambina.  If someone from central casting were sent to find the perfect black cat, Bambina--aka Bina--is the perfect fit.  There isn't one spot of white on her. 

Bina came into the house shortly before Preacher.  She was a tiny cat and my sister caught her to have her steralised. 

For the longest time Bina hid under the bed, coming out only to eat and to see my sister.  It took a couple of years before she was friendly to the other cats.  She wouldn't hiss--just stare at them with "the look".  The other cats always backed off. 

Now Bina circulates around the flat/apartment.  She is affectionate and enjoys having her tummy rubbed.  If Sissy or I am in bed, Bina will climb on top of us to demand loving.  Her coat is so soft--like well worn sleeping flannel and smooth as silk. 

Bina now gets along with the other cats, most of the time.  She is an example of grace--belief that given time, patience, attention, affection and persistence, a wounded soul can respond and heal. 

By the way, did you know that stroking a dog or cat is a great way to relax, reduce stress and help to calm a person down?  Scientist have found this to be true.

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,

"Lady Helene"
Bina with her back foot forward whilst sleeping.  That's her bare tummy showing as well.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Monkey Juice and Home Brew

Times of frustration and patience-stretching are balanced out by funny moments and remarks. 

Mom's favourite thing to drink is chocolate milk.  When she doesn't want anything else you offer, she will always take chocolate milk. 

Now Mom gets confused at times when her pain medication is wearing off, or she is tired, or she is in pain.  We just never know what she's going to say from one moment to the next. 

Last week I had just gotten her into bed for the afternoon. 

"Mom, do you want anything else?"

"Yes, I want some Monkey juice!"

"You want What?"  I ask with raised eyebrows, wondering from where that description came. 

"Monkey juice!  You know what I mean."

"Well, I guess I do."  I smile and head off to the kitchen to get her the chocolate milk.

First thing in the morning we often use a diet supplement drink, called Boost, to give Mom's medicine to her.  Because it is simpler, we tell her it is her chocolate milk.  It is not economically viable to give Mom a chocolate Boost drink everytime she wants chocolate milk.  So I've explained that she has special chocolate milk in a labeled bottle.  However, other times I have to fix chocolate milk by adding Ovaltine to regular milk. 

This became a problem because we were out of milk for a couple of days, as well as finishing off the can of Ovaltine.  I made it to the grocery store on Friday, and told her that we now had milk and chocolate milk mix. 

Yesterday, after a trip to the toilet, I was tucking her back into bed. 

"Do you want a drink?"  I ask.

"Yes, I want some HOME BREW!" 

I couldn't help myself--I just had to laugh.  "Okay," I said.  "I'll bring you some home brew." 

Somehow it seems appropriate, as I did have to make a glass of milk and Ovaltine--a type of home brew. 

I go home on 17th April.  I am going to miss these unexpected statements. 

Another Visual --Preacher

This is Preacher.  He was a feral cat that used to frequent the back yard of my sister's house.  It took two years from the first time my sister saw him to the time she was actually able to pet him.  Eventually, his trust in her grew to the point he came into the house--and she took Preacher to the vet to get him steralised.  Since then, he has become the "Godfather" of the cat family in the house.  He is highly affectionate, often grooming the other cats.   

My sister isn't sure how old Preacher actually is, because he was full grown when Sissy first saw him.  She thinks he is beginning to lose his sight.  And he has grey in his fur.  

He is a big cat, solid and muscular, weighing almost 15 pounds. 

The first sighting of Preacher actually spooked Sissy.  It was dark out, and all she could see was his glowing green eyes reflected in the street light.  The next time she saw him, she sighted the white around his neck, and immediately thought of a clerical collar--so she named him Preacher.  Amazingly, he answered to the name.

We always wanted a preacher in the family! 

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,

"Lady Helene"

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Livia--AKA Little Bit

Little Bit is Grandma's "Fur-Baby".  She was tiny when they fostered her.  Little Bit has to be in the mood for affection.  And wouldn't you just love to run your fingers through her lush tummy fur?  Well, one DOES NOT, as Little Bit does not like it.  She will bite!  But she loves to "knead Kitty bread" while she purs away. 

Little Bit must be about seven and a half years old or maybe even eight. 

Hope you enjoy her photos!

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,

"Lady Helene"

A though from Proverbs about animals

King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 12:10: “The righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”  

There’s the sound of little feet scampering around as Sissy’s Chihuahua—Hannah—and one of the “Ginger Twins”—Sethra—play.  And I smile, because their antics include wrestling, rolling, nipping and licking.  Little Bit—a calico with big green eyes—sits on the dresser watching me.  Again I smile, this time directly at her.  I have to say my visit with my sister and Mom has been enriched by spending time with all the energetic personalities of these beautiful creatures. 

My sister’s passion for them has led her to have an understanding and commitment to them, to make their lives as good as she can.  For her, they are the children who will mature, but never leave home. 

Perhaps there are some of my readers who wonder why she doesn’t consider taking in foster children.  But the responsibility of caring for Mom was stressful enough—not to mention the expense of them. 

And in honesty, I think she stumbled into caring for stray cats.  Feeding an extra cat costs less than sponsoring a child through Compassion or Feed the Children or providing a home for a foster child. 

But more than that, feral cats play a part in maintaining the ecological environments of local areas.  Did you know that besides eating small rodents and reptiles (snakes, lizards and geckos), cats will also eat large bugs?  They help to prevent over-population of birds in some areas.  Feral cat colonies are usually made of family groupings and establish a territory based upon the availability of food and shelter.  The colony Sissy recently adopted includes a mother and two of her grown kittens. 

Local Humane Societies urge concerned local residents to get involved by becoming caregivers which provides an opportunity to create a managed feral cat colony.  Caregivers monitor the colony primarily by feeding the cats.  However, they also help to apprehend the cats, so that the health of the felines can be evaluated, vaccinations administered, sick cats treated, and veterinarians then sterilise them.  This prevents the cats from over-populating an area. 

I was shocked to learn that cats as young as six months can go into heat.  If they do not mate, they can go into heat every two weeks!  Often this means that these young female cats are kittens themselves, and turn out to become under-nourished, aggressive and prolific breeders.  Caregivers often work with Humane Societies and other local cat sanctuaries to provide what is called “Trap-Neuter-Return” services. 

          If a kitten is caught young enough, they can be adopted into homes—and make wonderful pets.  Sometimes stray cats, those who were previously domesticated but have become lost or been abandoned, join a cat colony.  If these cats are found by a caregiver, they can be rescued and placed into new homes. 

          Cats who are too wild for adoption are returned to their original habitat.  The benefit of this is that it allows caregivers to maintain a healthy colony in an established area.  When a territory is evacuated by removing the original cat colony, a vacuum is created.  However, the vacuum only creates a place for more wild, unsterilized cats to come.

          The benefit of the “Trap-Neuter-Return” programme is that the lives of feral cats are improved by preventing prolific reproduction.  This in turn provides better feeding and shelter options for the cats in the colony.  Public health is protected because returned cats have been vaccinated against feline leukaemia, distemper and other contagious cat diseases.  “TNR” is more cost efficient than capturing feral cats that are held until they are killed and later disposed of; a cost of less than half. 

TNR was brought to the U.S. from Europe and the U.K. during the 1980s. The practice of TNR grew rapidly in the 1990s when Alley Cat Allies began providing information and assistance to people caring for feral cats who recognized that their numbers must be controlled and reduced through sterilization. In communities where TNR is widely embraced, feral cat numbers have dropped. TNR programs operate largely or entirely through the dedicated efforts of committed volunteers.”

As I said in the previous post, my admiration of my sister has grown.  Daily she demonstrates patience, persistence and kindness to these little souls who have refuge under my sister’s roof.  She has explained it to me that although they are not human, they deserve to be treated with respect. 

“Then the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you?  Or thirsty and give you drink?  When did we see you a stranger and took You in?  Or when did we see you sick and come to you?  And the King shall answer and say, Verily, I say, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, you have done it unto Me.”  (Matthew 25:37-40) 

Sissy has often said that this is her heart.  I think Jesus and St. Francis would agree. 

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
Lady Helene
Blog Regarding the life of animals...Proverbs 12:10 Saturday, 07 April 2012