tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
Another day, another bunch of job applications sent off. That paranoid moment when you fear that employers disregard your application because you've got an unusual name and they might think you're some dirty furriner. I mean, that might not be the issue with me at all - I've got a pretty "safe" Germanic and English name anyway. I still take care to point out on my résumé that Norwegian is my native language though, just in case.

But anyway, that's me fretting as usual. I take heart, if I don't find anything very soon I'll go back to retail or the grocery store, and I'll keep sending applications for other jobs.

So anyway; Last night I did my last shift at the cat shelter. It was a melancholy goodbye. The official explanation is that my new non-student life means I've got less time and resources to do volunteer work, and that's certainly true, but I can't deny that me and the organization no longer seem to see eye-to-eye on certain practical and political matters.

Over the course of the summer (while I've been away) there have been run-ins with the police, a lot of bad publicity in the local press, and I don't think my superiors have handled the matter in a good way. I know everything they've done, they've done with the best of intentions - to help abused animals, and I'm not saying we shouldn't fight for them, tooth and claw; But I believe there are better ways to do it, I don't think civil disobedience, breaking the law, and inhabiting every damaging animal activist stereotype out there will help our cause in the long run. Now my boss has to pay a hefty fine; that's money that could have been spent on food and spaying and medicines, and now it won't because my boss wanted to make a point. Not to mention the money contributors we've lost because "we're just some fundamentalist animal activist whackjobs after all".

Let me move on to my usual rant here: Why blaming the police really doesn't help )

See? I still care about important things. Politics, even. That doesn't change. It's just that writing about comics or TV shows is much kinder on my blood pressure and RAGE METER.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: relaxed)
The shelter I work for also runs a little shop downtown where I get crazy discounts, so of course that's where I go to buy cat food and other things for Linni. Like the shelter, the shop is also staffed by volunteers. You can divide the numerous volunteers in this organization into three groups: There's the morning shelter shift (who clean and make sure all the cats are fed), the evening shelter shift (where I work - dealing with customers and adoptions) and the shop staff. You'd be surprised how little these three groups have to do with each other, we're pretty much strangers to each other.

So today I went to the shop to buy cat food, and to get my discount I informed the lady behind the register I worked at the shelter.

"Oh!" she said. "I'm so glad to finally meet someone who works at the shelter! There's one thing I'd like to ask you... I visited the shelter last year and there was this one cat that completely stole my heart away. Last thing I heard it was still at the shelter, and I'd just love to hear how it's doing."
"Sure, do you know the name?"
"Yes, it's a calico named Linni."

You could see the surprise on my face! I gladly told her about Linni's new living situation and she made me promise to bring more pictures the next time I visit the shop.

Yeah, I know I've been negligent on the Linni updates lately. She still seems to be a content and placid cat. She shows no inclination to lie in my lap, but she's obviously a glutton for physical contact - the moment I sit or lie down in bed (and considering I live in a one-room apartment that's happens a lot) she jumps in, chirps and leans up against me and sort of slides into a lying position. If I move a bit she crawls up close again. I've never had a cat who loves to spoon before.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
Man, I've just got the best support group ever. I've got my family to calm me down, my buddy Åsmund to copy the relevant pages I'll need for my paper (on Monday though, so it'll be a tight fit but if I get a head start over the weekend I'll pull through), people send me things to cheer me up ([livejournal.com profile] leaper182's been sending me delightful snippets from her Lupin III fanfic and also evidently told Jigen to come and be my muse, hee) and people are just, whoa, amazing.

Yeah so while I'm still quite jittery (I always am in exam periods, I've had worse freakouts than this) things seem to be shaping up. Thanks everybody. It takes a village and all that.

But I've got big news: I've acquired a cat. I am now an actual Owner of Cat. Which incidentally is why I'm sitting on my bed with an aching back and writing this on my wonky old laptop with the broken space bar - the little furball's dozing off under my desk - thusly:

Notice her cool disregard of the blanket I so lovingly put down for her. And yes I promise I'll get some better pictures once she's settled.

Yeah I... I just couldn't let Linni spend her life in the shelter. She's always been special to me - did you know she came in the same day I began working at the shelter? Yeah, it's been that long.

Backstory and vital statistics )

So I'm following all that advice I've been giving to customers (it's kinda funny being on this side of the process, last time I had to deal with an acclimatizing cat I was hardly out of nappies) and I'm hoping she'll dare to venture out from under the desk soon (I've tidied and placed blankets on all the high sweetspots I know cats are fond of and she goes to sleep on the cold floor. This will be a learning experience I think) but here we are. Day one.


May. 4th, 2011 09:51 pm
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
Thought: What is it that my journal has been lacking in these last couple of months?

Oh I know - shelter cats!

When I locked myself in today I found a little surprise nestled up on the reception desk between the adoption papers and the money box:

The new bundle of joy's name is Kasper, clocking in at 12 weeks, he's half Maine Coon, half who-the-hell-knows-how-did-our-cat-get-out-anyway and his new family is picking him up on Saturday.

Click through for Kasper's siblings and some other stars at the shelter )

Well that's a few of the thirty-ish cats we've got on the shelter. Going to be interesting heading into the kitten season.

Oh and one for the history books: Absolutely no scratches on me today! Though I did get chlorine into a small cut on my hand and boy that stung like a bitch.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
So today I got severely beat up by a kitten. Then I spent three hours looking for it. A visitor to the shelter found it hanging upside-down Spiderman-style under a sofa. Then it disappeared again.

This was honestly my one project at the shelter today, and all I've got to show for it is a sliced-up hand. I'm not used to kittens who know how to fight. Crafty little bugger.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: relaxed)
I got to name a cat today. I mentioned that considering we've already got a Cleopatra (complete with an "I BITE" tag on her collar) and a Cæsar (who's almost entirely recovered from the flu), it would only be natural to call him Antonius.

So Antonius it is:

A bit shy (and suffering from a cold sore on his nose, poor thing), but he's one of those prepubescent cats who start purring the moment you give them some attention - Antonius was purring like an Evinrude engine while chasing the laser pen.

We've also got another new face, and a very unusual one too: A purebred persian male by name of Twist (we don't keep him caged up, he just prefers to be in there). He even comes complete with a pedigree chart from his previous owner.

Twist gives me some conflicting feelings, because he is a very very sweet, affectionate cat who at the same time represents something I hate with all my being (and I've always used persians as an example of how twisted the breeding industry can get too). As lovely as he is, I can't help but think that this is not what a cat is supposed to look like. Of course I don't hold it against him, I just can't help getting a little bit sad about the fact that people think a cat like him is worth five times as much than any of the others we have at the shelter.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: relaxed)
The most frequently asked question I get at the cat shelter is "Why is this cat here?" I don't know what people expect to hear, but most of our cats are strays, we are in the dark about their pasts. Some cats come to us because the owner has to move or because of allergies. Some of them write us long letters about what their cats are used to at home and give us detailed accounts of their lives.

Those cats are easy to explain, but Lilo? Lilo is one mysterious cat.

One day, Lilo was simply there, at the shelter. In one of our cages in the kitten room. There wasn't even a note. Just a calm, slightly emaciated cat with matted fur. Sure, we've had cats dumped on us before (usually people leave them at our shop downtown) but this... this was a stealth operation.

Since then Lilo's had a shave, a warm bed, a lot of food (I tend to spoil her by sneaking some fatty kitten food to her) and a whole lot of cuddling. Today I saw a post-it note hanging on the wall explaingin that she's got a new owner that'll pick her up on Saturday. Darn, I'll miss our little mystery cat.


Oct. 21st, 2010 12:03 pm
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
The outbreak of cat flu is finally more or less under control, and in the meantime I've found that the specific type of flu we're dealing with is FCV, Feline Calicivirus, which is far less dangerous than FHV-1.

The only patient we have at the shelter suffering from the flu these days is the only adult cat unlucky enough to get infected, Cæsar. Usually I wouldn't post pictures of a sick cat (just like I wouldn't post pictures of a sick friend) but yesterday he finally finally mustered to eat (sores in and around the mouth is a common symptom of FCV, so usually it's too painful for sufferers to eat during the more dire stages of the disease), and in my excitement I simply had to get proof that he's getting better.

(Apologies for the blurry mobile phone picture, my regular camera ran out of juice)

Scarfing down Whiskas, which is a very rare treat indeed at the shelter. We like to steer clear of junky cat food at the shelter, but when presented with kitten formula Cæsar just looked at us with a "you've got to be kidding me"-glare, so an alternative had to be found.

Not that I understand him, kitten formula smells absolutely delicious, even I'm tempted to try some.
tilly_stratford: (Trek: Spock bitchfit)
Case: There's an old geezer in Bergen who brags about hurting cats who walks on his property. Today my bosses at the shelter posted about it on facebook. People are understandably upset, but the variety of ways they react to it is driving me crazy:

A) Sharing the man's telephone number, urging people to call him and "try to reason with him" (I'm not entirely certain that's what they're actually going to do when they call).

B) Accusing him of being a pedophile (?)

C) Saying "No reason to go to the police, they never take these things seriously anyway." (One of my BOSSES said this. WHAT.)

D) Going "If anybody hurt my Felix I'd kill them!"

D) Telling off anybody who suggests that any of the above might not be the wisest courses of action.

I'm just - argh! Of course I think it's horrible, of course I hate this man, and of course a little voice in the back of my head is suggesting to let Anonymous go get him, or throw a brick through his window or something. It's just - I don't want our wonderful organization to turn into... whatever this is. People are so disillusioned with the police the majority just whine about it and go about their daily business, while the rest turn into prank callers. What is wrong with this picture?

And here I am, whining about it, because I don't know what to do either. At last the police has been notified, but other than that...?

If the newspapers pick up on this thing (somebody's called a major national newspaper) I desperately hope they focus on what ridiculous animal welfare laws we have in Norway (for one, do you know which department's in charge of animal services? The Food Safety Authority! No, seriously. And do you know when it actually became AGAINST THE LAW to have sex with animals in Norway? Last. year.) and bring it to people's attention, complete with the system taking care of this man... Not "Hohoho look at all these crazy cat ladies, they burned a guy's house down! Animal organizations are idiotic herp derp" or something.

I guess the case is on hold till Monday...
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
Tough times down at the cat shelter - we've had an outbreak of cat flu. I'm still not sure exactly what kind (since cat flu typically refers to everything from kennel cough to H5N1) but there has been suggestions of FVR, or feline herpes. The infected kittens (the older cats were immune due to their vaccines) have been moved to foster homes and the room we usually reserve for unvaccinated cats has been thoroughly disinfected and is currently being aired out. The paperwork is in a state of mild chaos.

Anyway, in good news: Yesterday I facilitated the adoption of one of our dearly loved older cats, Lucy. She's been in the shelter's care since she was a kitten. It's the first time I've suggested a cat to a potential adopter (as opposed to just letting them roam around the house and try to pick up one they like). I was so pleased when it turned out to be a perfect match!

Also, here's Sarah draped over the tables in our main room. She's gigantic (if you haven't noticed, I adore huge cats).

And spoken for too, I'm glad to say - the owner will pick her up sometime this month.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: relaxed)
Now here's something I've never seen before:

That's right, two adult shelter cats (Priscilla and Umulius) from wildly different backgrounds sleeping in the same basket!

I showed the picture to my colleagues and they were as amazed as I was! Really, this never happens at the shelter - well it does among the kittens, but they're kittens. All our adult cats, unless they're siblings, are very territorial. That basket, for instance, just about belongs to Priscilla. That's her territory.

And yes, that isn't a trick of perspective: Priscilla is a regular-sized adult cat, Umulius is HUGE. He's like a supersized cat. He looks like he's half cat, half bear. And a fun fact: Umulius' name is derived from the Norwegian word umulig - "impossible". He's called that because he has the worst violent mood swings I've ever seen in a cat. I guess an English version of his name would be "Impossibilius".

And now, I'm going to work on my bachelor thesis. Huff...
tilly_stratford: (QI: The internet is brilliant)
Churchill's home again! Oh hi there honey, it's lovely to have you back again!

If you need reminding, Churchill is my laptop. He committed hara-kiri some time before the summer and it's only due to Kari and her heroic efforts he's back home here again, complete with a new brain (hard drive) and a... I can't think of an organic parallel to a keyboard.

So! Now I'm on a laptop that isn't completely rubbish, I can do the sort of things that you normally take for granted. Like not worrying about the space button falling off, or being able to transfer photos from my camera and onto the computer!

Yes, so here's a backlog of pictures I would probably have presented earlier, if I'd had the opportunity.

KITTENS. And some other stuff )


Sep. 9th, 2010 04:50 pm
tilly_stratford: (Yoga: Virbhadra pose)
You have to understand. When I had decided to get dreadlocks I spent a lot of time in online communities for dreadheads, and they taught me this one thing: That you have to be prepared for nasty comments and subtly insulting questions from strangers.

And I did my best to prepare myself for this. And I've kept on preparing myself. On and on and on.

And... nothing. A few disapproving looks from elderly ladies at the post office, but otherwise nothing. The only strangers who've actually commented on my hair have been positive (though not Norwegian. I think Norwegians are too polite to talk to strangers in any case).

But YESTERDAY! I was dealing with a customer and her adult daughter at the cat shelter when the conversation took a surprising turn to my hair. They asked me polite questions about it, until the customer (an elderly lady) asked me, "I suppose you don't wash them?"

OH YES, I thought, swelling with pride. This is what I've trained for! "Oh I do," I replied cheerfully. "I wash my dreads as regularly as I did my hair before I got them." (which technically is a lie. I used to wash my hair twice a week, now I do it once a week, but with better products).

"Oh," she replied. "But how?"

This... I hadn't prepared for. It stumped me so totally I had to segue the conversation over to something else (though in hindsight I should have gone "I use this fantastic invention, shampoo, and I work it into my hair and then I wash it out with this other thing, I think it's called water..."). How do I wash my hair indeed. That's another one I'll need to prepare for in the future.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
You remember Emil, the big grey cat that came to the shelter with such matted fur we had to shave him? Star of the Tilly's Menacing Bag o'Dangers video? Well last night he finally found a home!

Adopting off the big shelter personalities is such a bittersweet experience every time. It's like giving away your own pets, you just want the best for them.

Here's a picture of the beautiful guy shamelessly stolen from our Facebook page (I didn't realize I was the one holding him until Kari told me she recognized the sweater!):

Have a great life big guy!
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
Highlight of the week: Teaching a big mustachio'd fella how to set a cat trap. Showing the intricacies of the lever and the hook and where you put the tuna so no tails get caught in the falling door makes me feel something like Bear Grylls. I even saw somebody had assembled it wrong so I took it apart and fixed it, just like that. Why is it I still can't assemble an IKEA commode?

Also I might have mentioned these twelve-yearold girls that come by sometimes and sweetly ask if they can help out. They're amazing, they keep asking me if there are any menial tasks they can do - what sort of twelve-yearolds do that? Today I've had them brush the cats, brush and wash the cat trees, clean the windows, wash the dirty bowls, scrub the floor, cut grass... You know, all the things I'm supposed to do! And then they come running and smiling, "What else can we do?"

There must be some strange and unnatural experimentation performed on preteens in that valley.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: relaxed)
Oh dear, kitten season has started at the shelter. You're supposed to be a mature representative of an organization but damnit there are tiny little furballs with gigantic blue eyes who crawl into your sweater and fall asleep while you're doing paperwork. A girl can only fight the urges to squeal and babytalk so long.

But I did set a personal record today: Two cats adopted! Granted one was a ten-week old kitten and they are never hard to sell, while the other was Sjasmin, a strong-willed Abyssinian mix. I'm feeling quite proud of myself.

I could show you so many pictures of all the lovely kitties, but for some reason my old lappie (now that Churchill is incapacitated) won't let me transfer the photos from my camera. Damn and blast.

Day 08 - A movie everyone should watch

Wait, haven't I pretty much answered this one before?

Very well then, I decree that everyone shall watch Some Like it Hot immediately. I don't care if you've seen it before, just do it.

[Error: unknown template video]

It's probably the only movie I know that is funny while revolving around men in drag. And Lord knows you can't go wrong with Marilyn.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: relaxed)
Another peaceful day at the cat shelter. Knut was there, jovial as he always is when he's not mauling anyone. I read in the log book another worker had to get a tetanus shot as well last week because of him. That's what happens when you pick up Knut.

There's been some exciting changes at the shelter itself though: We finally have a fenced-in backyard! For the first time the cats can be outside!

Of course, we don't own the entire backyard since there are residents in the same building. One of these residents is a very nice girl with a very big dog. She lets it out now and again, and while all the cats come scurrying inside, Mini, God bless him, runs out to chill out. Pointedly.

"Psh, a gigantic Rottweiler? And?"

Updates on some previous cats (pics taken with a proper camera) )
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
A story in three pictures.

a number of firsts )

And now I'm so ready to go to bed I can't even fully express it.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: relaxed)
Why is it that all the problems always crop up at the very very end of my shift? I've had a nice shift today, really I have, but then everything went belly-up at the last minute and I'm in such a bad mood now.

Ah well. Remember Felix, the most unapproachable cat ever? He licked my hand today. Granted I'd just been handling food, but hell, Felix willingly interacted with a human. And then I tried to touch him and got mauled to death. Baby steps...

I also completely failed to take any pictures today (I like to pretend they interest you all), but instead I got a short little low-quality mobile movie of Emil (my first cat-shaving experience you remember) being weirded out by my bottle of water.

Music added for mood enhancement.

Hell yeah, check out my sweet carpet purse.
tilly_stratford: (Cat: Miyazaki handle with care)
There has been a couple of cases of cat mutilation in Bergen lately, and there's a higher number of housecat disappearances than usual. No guessing I was doling out extra cuddles at the shelter today.

I've shed some blood for the cause today anyway, but at least now pregnant Priscilla's got a quiet foster home to deliver in. Her condition came as a surprise, but I'm sure it'll come along smoothly.

Oh, and you remember Pelle from last week? Well, turns out he's been homeless for ten years. Ten. Years. That's... a lot of time. But ah, he's got a new home waiting for him now, they'll pick him up right after Easter :D

Cat of the week is Brumm, who's the cuddliest cat in the house; He always starts purring like a Evinrude engine the moment you step into the room.

Such a sweetheart.


tilly_stratford: (Default)

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