Cats and cats

What do feral cats and butterfly caterpillars have in common? Not much beyond linguistically – some people use the affectionate term “cat” to mean caterpillar. Other than that it gives me an opportunity to tell you about my weekend. I was helping George feed one of his feral cat colonies in an overgrown field when I saw an anise swallowtail butterfly on a mallow plant. The helping part ground to a halt while I took photos, but George didn’t complain.

Anise swallowtail butterfly

I had brought the camera to get some photos of the cats. They know him and come around when he brings their food and water.

Feral cats

Some hold back until he steps away.

Feral cat

Others are so friendly it’s obvious they were house-cats, mostly likely abandoned when people lost their homes. Shameful, even so.

George gets a head bump

George gets a head bump

After we fed the cats I found one swallowtail butterfly egg on a wild fennel plant. This time of year there should be many more.

Anise swallowtail butterfly egg

Anise swallowtail butterfly egg

I hadn’t found any eggs on our garden fennel yet, but I was curious after finding the one in the field, so I checked – no eggs, but one large caterpillar!

Anise swallowtail butterfly caterpillar

Anise swallowtail butterfly caterpillar

We’ll let it make its chrysalis in our butterfly nursery, and then release it after emerging. I’ll keep you posted! Just a reminder if you have wild fennel growing on your property – yes, I know it gets rangy and out-of-control, but if you need to cut it down before it dries out, please check for eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalises. Making your yard look neat could cost the lives of many of these beautiful butterflies.

So my wish: more caterpillars, no more abandoned cats!

Growl, Meow & Wine Auction

The East Bay SPCA is holding its annual fundraiser – Growl, Meow & Wine – on Sunday, October 14th, from 2-5 pm at its Adoption Center in Dublin, 4651 Gleason Drive. This nonprofit has been saving lost and abandoned animals since 1874. It currently operates two Adoption and Education Centers, two Spay/Neuter Surgery Centers and a full-service Veterinary Clinic. It is committed to the welfare of cats and dogs in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, striving to eliminate animal cruelty, neglect and overpopulation by providing programs and education that support people and companion animals.

Betty and Dorian

We adopted two of our cats, Betty and Dorian, through the East Bay SPCA.

Growl, Meow & Wine features wine, food, music, a silent auction and, of course, animals.You can buy tickets through this link on the East Bay SPCA website. Click here for the event page on Facebook, which includes a link to a map to the event.

Betty-cat

We recently had to say goodbye to our wonderful Betty.  Betty was a sweet shy black cat, with the softest furry cheeks.

Betty-cat

Betty-cat

She spent a lot of time in her “cat room”, which is a large closet at the top floor of our house where she would run whenever she heard anyone in the house other than George or me.  For this reason many of our friends doubted that we actually had a third cat. She dearly loved her brother Dorian, and he frequently washed her face.

Betty and Dorian

Betty and Dorian

She didn’t always get along as well with her pesky little brother, Lars, but once in awhile they shared a cuddle.

Lars and Betty

Lars and Betty

A few months ago, our lovely Bee was diagnosed with intestinal lymphoma.  Dr. Benjamin Otten, of allCreatures Veterinary Clinic , referred us to veterinary oncologist Dr. Sabhlok at PETS Referral Center.  Dr. Sabhlok treated Bee with chemotherapy for several months. She rallied for about a month or so, but the lymphoma caught up with her.

In our sadness we were moved and comforted by the outpouring of sympathy from our veterinarians. We got several cards from Dr. Otten and the people who work at allCreatures, from Dr. Sabhlok and the people who work at PETS, and from VCA Albany, where we had also taken Betty.

We wanted to express our appreciation for their kind gestures, and especially for their care and treatment of our precious Bee.  I decided to make mini-quilts for them, and printed my favorite photos of Betty onto fabric. Here are the two that I’ve finished so far:

Betty and Lars mini-quilt

Betty and Lars mini-quilt

Betty and Dorian mini-quilt

Betty and Dorian mini-quilt

Bye Sweet Bee, we miss you…